TORONTO -- The backup goalie's seat has to be the most uncomfortable in the house, right?
You're jammed in at the end of the bench, sometimes on a folding chair, and you're stuck wearing more than anyone else under the roof. It's gotta be awfully warm, especially if you happen to be hot under the collar.
Look close enough and you should probably see steam coming from the ears of a backup who believes he shouldn't be one.
Ray Emery insists he's not mad or bitter over his fall, however temporary it might be, from a puck stopper in the Stanley Cup finals to Martin Gerber's apprentice.
Emery wants back in the fire, naturally, but he also gets why coach John Paddock has him cooling his jets.
"I like playing and I'll get a chance, but the other guy is leading the league in wins ... if I'm the coach, I'm going to want to play that guy, too," Emery said before he took up residency on the pine at Air Canada Centre last night. "I'm going to run with him."
After tweaking his back throwing a ball a few days ago, Emery says he's good to go. He'll get the call, likely tomorrow in Montreal. If not, in Buffalo Wednesday.
He may or may not become the Senators' No. 1 goalie again, and if he doesn't regain that position, he may or may not remain content with his lot in life. He's 25. He makes a starter's wages. He's certainly good enough to be one. If it ain't gonna happen in Ottawa, who would blame a guy for asking to go where it will.
Emery is not at that stage yet. And he's not feeling hard done by or angry, despite speculation to the contrary.
"It's a job," said Emery. "I like playing, but if your article isn't going to be on the front page, are you going to lose any sleep over it?
"I want to play, I want to get in there and do my best for the team, but I'm Marty's teammate and I'm cheering for him when he's in there. He does the same for me when I'm playing."
Yup, in the big happy Senators' house, even the backup's chair is cosy. For now.
STARTS AND STOPS: Mentioned to a colleague that Dany Heatley entered last night with just one goal in his previous nine games. "Oh yeah? Against the Leafs, he'll probably get nine in one game," replied buddy. Wearing Ottawa colours, Heatley does have a wicked record against Toronto -- 17 goals in 19 games before this one. What gives? "This is a big stage," Jason Spezza said of the ACC, "and (Heatley) has a flair for playing well on a big stage. He and his centreman get a little excited playing here." Said Heatley: "Ever since you start in the league, this is one of the buildings you get fired up to play in. There are really good fans and it's a really good atmosphere here. Just like in Ottawa, when there's usually a few fan fights in the stands (during Leafs games), here it's much the same. Their fans hate us and our fans hate them. It makes for exciting games." ... We've wondered before and we're wondering it again about the two No. 7s on the ice -- if Joe Corvo and Ian White switched jerseys, would anyone notice? ... Even Jason Blake (two goals on 90 shots entering the game) would have scored on a late-first-period buzz around the Ottawa net had a backchecking Senator player (my Bob Cole impersonation) not intercepted the Mats Sundin pass.
BETWEEN PERIODS: Good coaches never stop thinking about ways their team can get better. What did Paddock do on his free Friday night in Toronto? "Watched a hockey game," said Paddock. "The right teams lost (Friday). Montreal, Carolina ... it was a good night in Toronto." ... The Binghamton Senators ended their goal-less streak at 192 minutes, 20 seconds, but still lost 6-3 to the Philadelphia Phantoms Friday night. Nick Foligno recorded an assist.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Brian McGrattan grazed the post with his traditional, rink-long shot at the opponent's empty net after players left the ice following warmup. I tell you this for no other reason than it was the first time in a while I watched .... And now, a couple of juicy rumours we heard at the ACC. No. 1 has the Leafs sending handsomely paid defenceman Bryan McCabe to the Thrashers for stud winger Marian Hossa, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. No. 2 is that coach Sam Mitchell is ticked at centre Andrea Bargnani for pouting because he's not starting. Oh yeah, did I mention the Raptors were working out on their practice court upstairs while the Leafs were having their morning skating? ... Spezza took the opportunity presented by a road game in Toronto to have dinner with family in Mississauga Friday. On the menu was mom's roast. That's a Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm just because it sounds good.