From Damian Rhodes through Jani Hurme, Martin Prusek, Patrick Lalime, Dominik Hasek, Ray Emery, Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire, the goaltending hopes of the Ottawa Senators have been waylaid by bad goals, injuries and misadventure.

Now they're rolling the dice again and putting their faith in Craig Anderson, who on Monday signed a four-year contract extension worth $12.75 million U.S.

Will Anderson, now 29, be the one?

Who knows? Playing goal for the Senators might be one of the toughest jobs in the nation's capital. You can go from hero to bum and back in fewer than 60 minutes. A season can be mentally exhausting. Just ask Elliott, who couldn't handle the pressure.

But one thing is clear: In the 11 games Anderson has played since being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 18, he has brought confidence and stability to a position that has been crying out for it all year.

His play has also made it possible to speculate with reasonable accuracy that this wouldn't have been such a woebegone season if the team had a goalie of Anderson's calibre from the start. Certainly that was the verdict of general manager Bryan Murray.

"Of course," he said. "There's no doubt. That's not necessarily fair to the two guys (Elliott and Leclaire), but it is (true).

"I've said this many times: We thought we had (a No. 1 goalie) in Pascal. We thought we had a guy coming in who had the athletic ability to help this team every night, to be the No. 1 guy, with Brian Elliott being a quality backup.

"But Pascal got hurt. Injuries do happen in the game, but it has been unfortunate that, for two years, we've had a guy that got hurt more often than we were hoping would ever happen to anybody.