This has to be one of the biggest falls from grace in recent history, certainly not with the same magnitude of the Mike Vick situation, but surely, it is in hockey circles. Ray Emery, the starting net minder for the Ottawa Senators in the 2006-07 Stanley Cup Finals, couldn't find a job in the NHL and will now head over to Russia.
Emery has reportedly signed a one-year, $2-million deal with the Russian Continental Hockey League's Atlant Mytishchi. The former Senators No. 1 goalie, only 25, certainly looked like a rising superstar in the NHL.
While he couldn't get the job done in the 2006 playoffs after being named the starter thanks to Dominik Hasek's injury, Emery certainly proved himself in the spring of 2007, and it appeared a Canadian team was finally going to win the Stanley Cup in 14 years.
Emery went 13-7 with three shutouts and a 2.25 GAA and .907 SV% as the Sens, making their first Cup Finals appearance, fell short to the Anaheim Ducks. Emery's career numbers so far are very good, even with last year's sub par performance: 71-40-14 with a 2.71 GAA and .907 SV%, and an even better 2.46 GAA in Stanley Cup playoff competition with an equally impressive .904 SV%.
However, given Emery's track record off the ice, no NHL team was willing to give the young goaltender a look. Emery's checkered past has been well documented: showing up late for practices, fighting with teammates, participating in on-ice brawls in both the minors and the NHL, and on and on.
Could this possibly the greatest fall from stardom in hockey? Toronto Maple Leafs fans will undoubtedly point fingers at Andrew Raycroft, whose contract was bought out about two weeks ago. Still, the ex-Calder Trophy winner as top rookie (2004) currently has a job with the Colorado Avalanche.
Will Emery play again in the NHL--and given his young age, that's a possibility at some point, assuming he can still keep pucks out of the net--or will he become the next Jim Carey?
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