Ray Emery a Distraction?: Get Real!

Ian FroeseCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2008

Following a trip to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final and then getting off to a 15-2 start last season, the Ottawa Senators began to free-fall, and most of the blame was thrown at starting goaltender Ray Emery. Today, neither his team nor the rest of the NHL wanted to give him a real chance.

After having offseason wrist surgery, Emery was slow to recover to full form, and it’s debatable if he ever did. Following a series of regrettable events, like being late to practice, a fight with team heavyweight Brian McGrattan and the perceived assumption that he didn’t want to be there, the goaltender ultimately shared duties between the pipes with Martin Gerber. Emery ended the season with a 12-13-4 record and a modest save percentage of .890. His opponents claimed he was the main reason the Senators fell apart.

But even if that’s completely true, it’s pathetic. These are grown men that are paid millions of dollars for this job. How can they be distracted by one guy who would rather be partying than on the ice sometimes?

Yeah, he should have been more mature given the high investment that the Senators had in him. But what can you do? Think about it, readers, is there someone at your work that doesn’t always want to be there and needs a slap in the face? Of course there is! So why has this been such a big deal?

After that unfortunate year, Emery signed a $2 million deal (U.S. dollars) with Russian club Atlant Mytishci of the new Continental Hockey League—largely because there were no serious proposals from an NHL team. Just one year after starting in the Stanley Cup Final, the league’s 30 teams weren’t willing to give him a backup job and let him climb back into the form he is capable of reaching.

Basically, their reasoning is they're scared of the controversy he brings. Big deal. The NHL barely knows what controversy is. The league has nothing close to an Oakland Raiders. They had an occasionally tardy Ray Emery; in comparison, that’s laughable.

Emery’s agent, J.P. Barry, said he was contacted by NHL clubs only three times about the goalie’s services. They couldn’t have been significant offers. Just a year after a trip to the Final! Pathetic.

Ray Emery is not a bad guy. But it appears like that because he was forced onto the other side of the Atlantic. Yes, he is paid more handsomely than most, but he was no worse an employee than what most of us see in our workplaces.