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Auld eager for new start

Friday, 09.1.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Auld eager for new start

Goalie adjusts to life in Florida


(CP) - Alex Auld got his first glimpse of his new life in Florida this week as the threat of hurricane Ernesto had residents bracing for the worst.

"That was an eye-opener definitely," the former Vancouver Canucks goalie said from Fort Lauderdale. "Everyone was at Wal-Mart buying all the water and gas stations were lined up around the corner. It's something I'll need to get used to, that's for sure."

Luckily Ernesto fizzled before it hit the coast and Florida avoided the first big threat this year. Now Auld hopes to hit Florida by storm, intent on proving he is indeed a No. 1 goalie. His 33 wins in Vancouver last season, his first has a full-time starter, was eighth-best in the NHL - only two behind star Roberto Luongo of the Panthers, whom he's switched jobs with this summer.

"Getting to play every night and getting the chance to battle through ups and downs throughout the season, that was a great opportunity," Auld said. "Last year was a great stepping stone. It was a great experience."

But it wasn't enough to sway the Canucks that he was the answer for good. Auld insists he doesn't take it personally.

"I was there for a lot of years when Clouts (Dan Cloutier) would rattle off 30-win seasons and it was like nothing. Everyone said he wasn't good enough. And then I wasn't good enough. Who's been good enough since Kirk (MacLean)? I don't know, but it's a tough place to play as a goalie," Auld said. "And I hope Roberto does well. That being said, in all honesty, I loved playing there. The fans were great to me. I just think really at the time in my career and where that team was at, I didn't really fit. But it was a great experience."

Needing to find a new home for baggage-ridden star Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver GM Dave Nonis couldn't resist when Luongo became available due to his contract squabbles with the Panthers.

On June 23, on the eve of the NHL entry draft in Vancouver, Nonis and Panthers GM Mike Keenan pulled the trigger: Bertuzzi, Auld, defenceman Bryan Allen and a sixth-round pick in 2007 to Florida in exchange for Luongo, defenceman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick the next day.

"My wife and I were at the movies," Auld said, recalling that Friday night. "We came out and I had a whole bunch of voice mails and text messages. So did she. I knew something had happened. And I got a text message from my dad who broke down the deal. I couldn't believe it. But at the same time we had all heard the rumblings about a deal with Todd and also Roberto so I figured if those two were a match for a deal that I might be thrown in there as well."

Depending whether you live in Miami or Vancouver, it's either referred to as the Bertuzzi trade or the Luongo deal. Nowhere is it the Auld trade.

"I want to show that I'm a big part of it, too," said the native of Thunder Bay, Ont., who played for Canada at the IIHF world championship in Latvia in May. "There's a lot I want to prove here and I'm excited to do so. Those are two big names, but at the same time I think it's a bit of a feather in my cap to be traded for Roberto. It's a big challenge filling his shoes, that's for sure."

He'll have help doing so, the Panthers getting some insurance for Auld when they signed 41-year-old netminder Ed Belfour on July 25. So who's No. 1 in Florida?

"I've spoken to (head coach) Jacques (Martin) a couple of times since they picked Eddie up and he said nothing really changes for me," said Auld. "He wants us both to play a lot. It's a situation where they want us both to have success. Obviously we both want to play a lot but in talking to Eddie, while we're both competitive, we're going to get along well and be good teammates, first and foremost.

"I'm really looking forward to learning from a future Hall of Famer, that's for sure."

Auld, his wife and their three dogs drove from Thunder Bay to Florida over a week ago, settling in to their new house. They bought a home north of Fort Lauderdale near Bertuzzi and Allen, the three former Canucks settling together in the same area.

"It's a nice area, close to a golf club," Auld. "I guess I need to pick up golf now."

Year-round warm weather, no state income tax, and plenty of peace and quiet. Miami won't be so bad.

"It's a lot different, you're sort of allowed to live your personal life a little more," said Auld. "There's pros and cons to that, obviously. In Vancouver you're always in the spotlight and that's a lot of fun, too, but it'll be nice to just be able to step back, play hockey and be able to go home and leave it at the rink.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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