Martin Gerber's return from the KHL sees battle with goalies rather than henchmen

martingerber2.jpgWhen a player takes off the KHL from the NHL, they usually go away to never be heard from again aside from the occasional “What ever happened to…?” profile pieces. In an effort to prove that you can go home again, so to speak, former Hurricanes/Leafs/Senators goalie Martin Gerber is back trying to win a spot with the goalie-overloaded Edmonton Oilers. For Gerber, it’s a move he was more than happy to make after a year in Russia.

Take away the shady-looking guys in black leather jackets and Martin Gerber rather enjoyed most of his KHL experience.

Not so much that he was willing to play there forever, but it was fun while it lasted.

“There’s some really good stuff and there’s also some bad stuff,” said Gerber. “You have to be kind of open and don’t ask too many things. Language is a huge challenge over there. Things can get really, really complicated. It’s a different lifestyle, that’s for sure.”

And the famous Russian henchmen?

“Lot’s of those,” he said. “I think it looks scarier than it is sometimes, but sometimes you also think to yourself, ‘Holy crap, what did I get into here?'”

Russian henchmen? I hope this is only a really poor reference to former Coyotes enforcer Andrei Nazarov. As for Gerber, a year away in the KHL may have been just the thing he needed to recharge his batteries for a shot at the NHL once again. Playing for Mytishchi Atlant last year, Gerber put up stellar numbers with a goals against average of 2.19 and a .914 save percentage. If Gerber did find his game again, he might be making life very hard on Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk in Edmonton.

Gerber is at one disadvantage compared to those two and Nikolai Khabibulin: he’s signed to a two-way contract making it easier to send him to the AHL and Oklahoma City. This just means that Gerber will have to play out of his mind to get head coach Tom Renney and GM Steve Tambellini to keep him in Edmonton and force their hand in sending either Deslauriers or Dubnyk (or both of them) down through waivers to get them to the AHL.

It’s a long shot, but Gerber’s got a better NHL pedigree than either Dubnyk or Deslaruiers and if Khabibulin’s back isn’t in good shape or if the courts in Arizona make him go to jail for 30 days sooner rather than later, taking a shot at signing Gerber might be the sort of gamble that pays off.

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    Ehrhoff clears waivers; Jonathan Quick hurt?

    Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, stops a shot as teammate Christian Ehrhoff, of Germany, and Columbus Blue Jackets' Scott Hartnell watch during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Blue Jackets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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    Christian Ehrhoff has cleared waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

    The Kings made the 33-year-old defenseman available yesterday. It’s expected he’ll be assigned to AHL Ontario, with 23-year-old d-man Kevin Gravel getting called up.

    “Nothing wrong with Christian Ehrhoff,” coach Darryl Sutter told reporters Wednesday. “We’re not exactly world beaters here. We don’t have the best defense in the league or the best team in the league. We’re trying to get better in a hurry.”

    In addition to the Ehrhoff news, goalie Peter Budaj has been added to the Kings’ roster on the NHL’s media website, meaning Jonathan Quick (reportedly “day-to-day” with an injury sustained Tuesday in Boston) could miss some time.

    After acquiring Phaneuf, are Sens now gunning for Drouin?

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin waits for play to resume in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    Plenty of smoke coming from the Canadian capital this week.

    After landing Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf in a shock blockbuster on Tuesday, there are now reports that Ottawa’s in the mix for disgruntled Bolts forward Jonathan Drouin.

    Two separate TVA reports — one from Louis Jean, one from Renaud Lavoie — suggest that Sens GM Bryan Murray is working to get Drouin out of Tampa Bay. Drouin, the third overall pick in ’13, hasn’t played hockey at all since late January, when he was suspended without pay for failing to report to games for the club’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

    The Drouin-to-Ottawa move makes sense on a number of fronts:

    — As Lavoie notes, Murray is always looking to “find those players who quote-unquote ‘nobody wants anymore.'” Such was the case with Kyle Turris, who was acquired by the Sens after a falling out with the Coyotes in 2011. Recently, Turris was asked about the similarities between his situation and Drouin’s, saying the time after his trade request was made public was a “tough, tough go,” but that the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.

    — The rumored asking price for Drouin is believed to be defenseman Cody Ceci, the former first-round pick that partnered with Phaneuf in last night’s loss to Detroit. This, too, would make sense — Ceci, 22, is in his third professional season and progressing nicely, having already matched his career-best in goals. In several ways, he’s like another rumored target in Drouin trade talks:

    Mathew Dumba.

    — Dumba, like Ceci, is a pending RFA still on his entry-level deal. That club controlled contract would be important for the Bolts’ financial situation. Ceci could also be a capable replacement for Lightning d-man Jason Garrison, who on Thursday was ruled out for 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.

    And remember, Murray isn’t afraid to make splashy deals. Prior to the Phaneuf trade, he orchestrated the Bobby Ryan move with Anaheim and, a year later, traded then-captain Jason Spezza to Dallas.

    Murray and Yzerman have also connected on a trade once before. In ’13, the Sens sent Ben Bishop to Tampa in exchange for Cory Conacher.

    Bolts lose ‘minute-munching defenseman’ Garrison for 3-5 weeks

    during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.
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    The Tampa Bay Lightning expect defenseman Jason Garrison to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.

    Garrison was hurt in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Ottawa. The 31-year-old played just 4:10 of that game, missing the final two periods.

    “That’s a tough one too, because he’s a big minute-munching defenseman for us,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “A big body and size.”

    Garrison has just four goals and three assists in 52 games, but he’s third on the Bolts in average ice time (18:23), second in blocked shots (76), and third in hits (69).

    Matt Carle replaced Garrison for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.

    Kadri fined $5K for throat slash gesture at Giordano

    Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
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    Nazem Kadri‘s “inappropriate gestures” on Tuesday night have left him lighter in the wallet.

    On Thursday, the NHL announced that Kadri has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for making a throat slash gesture at Mark Giordano during Calgary’s 4-3 win over the Leafs two nights ago.

    The incident occurred after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.

    Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.