Last March, Philadelphia Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren announced that goaltender Ray Emery would undergo season-ending surgery due to a condition—avascular necrosis—that Emery was suffering from. The condition was discovered after Emery needed to have an abdomen injury repaired.
Avascular necrosis is when cells die due to insufficient blood supply. The condition was career-threatening and Emery's future in the NHL was uncertain. The surgery was successful and over the summer Emery was able to begin rehabilitation, in the hopes of one day playing again.
Last month, Emery signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks. On February 7th, he was performing a standard conditioning stint in the minors. On the 23rd, he was recalled to the Ducks.
Yesterday, Emery finally made his first appearance in an NHL game since February 1st, 2010. Unfortunately, the Ducks lost. Dan Ellis was in the net for the first two periods, but Emery replaced him after second intermission.
Emery faced nine shots and made saves on all of them. However, it wasn't enough for the Ducks to win.
The good news is that Emery's performance shows that he's back and capable of handling NHL action. Since starting goaltender Jonas Hiller is out with an injury, the net will be in the gloves of backups Ellis and Emery. Emery was originally playing backup to Ellis, but perhaps that will change.
It's still up in the air, but with all the recent bad injury news in the NHL, Emery's return comes as good news. It is nice to see a player come back from a career-threatening injury to compete in NHL action.
Emery should be a contender for this year's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards this summer. The award is given to the player who "best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and a dedication to ice hockey." Emery most certainly has shown perseverance and his dedication to ice hockey.