Ray Emery is getting ready for a return.
The 28-year-old goalie, who backstopped the Senators to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, is recovering from career-threatening hip surgery he had last spring after posting a respectable 16-11-0 record, with a 2.64 GAA for the Flyers in 2009-10.
Emery is in Toronto working with fitness guru Matt Nichol in an attempt to make a comeback this season.
Emery, a controversial figure during his three full seasons with the Senators before he was bought out of his contract and forced to spend a season in exile in the KHL, is focused on returning to the NHL this season.
“He’s having vigorous, intense workouts every day,” said his agent, J.P. Barry. “He’s feeling good, but we aren’t at the stage where he’s ready to come back yet.”
Nichol, a former Maple Leafs trainer, hasn’t set a timetable for Emery’s comeback. The first step is to get him skating with a team again, which means he’ll likely work out with an OHL franchise in the coming weeks.
From there, Emery is going to have to go to the AHL on a 25-game professional tryout agreement to show that he is fully recovered and is still capable of playing at the NHL level.
“(Nichol) is being very cautious,” said Barry. “But Ray is working very hard and he’s determined to come back.”
This 'n' that
The decision to deal C Brad Richards won’t have anything to do with hockey. The lenders running the Stars likely won’t want to spend the cash it’s going to take to keep him. That means Richards, who is set to be the top UFA available next summer, will likely be dealt at the trade deadline. With the Leafs fading fast, the Rangers will be the top contender to land Richards ... The Thrashers are going to start working on a long-term deal with captain Andrew Ladd, who is making $2.3 million (all terms US) this season after being acquired from the Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks in the summer. Ladd, 24, can become a restricted next summer, but is only one year away from unrestricted free agency. Ladd won his last deal in arbitration. “He had to come in and show he could do the job, he’s done the job,” Thrashers GM Rick Dudley said of Ladd, who is on pace to easily have the best season of his six-year NHL career. Ladd had eight goals and 17 assists in 26 games heading into play Saturday. The two sides can talk, but they can’t finalize a deal until Jan. 1.
Around the boards
The Coyotes haven’t had any discussions with G Ilja Bryzgalov, who can become a UFA on July 1 and wouldn’t last long on the free-agent market. The Coyotes would like to keep him, and the belief is they will, but GM Don Maloney still faces the fact the team is in bankruptcy. Prospective Phoenix owner Matthew Hulsizer will meet with the NHL’s board of governors Monday in Palm Beach, Fla. ... Flames GM Darryl Sutter and coach Brent Sutter are both on the hot seat. “The moves made in the summer bringing back Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay were mystifying,” said a league executive ... The Kings killed a deal for Boston LW Marco Sturm because they were concerned about when he would make his return from a knee injury. That doesn’t mean Sturm will finish the season with the Bruins. There were other teams involved in trade talks with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
Off the glass
No wonder Leafs GM Brian Burke can’t make a trade. Two names being thrown around the league: D Francois Beauchemin ($3.8-million cap hit) and D Mike Komisarek ($4.5-million cap hit). Both have strong character, but their contracts make them nearly impossible to move. The Leafs need a No. 1 centre. That duo isn’t going to fetch them one ... Doesn’t sound like John MacLean will be coaching much longer in New Jersey. While it would make sense to bring in Bob Hartley to try to get LW Ilya Kovalchuk going, the rumour Jacques Lemaire is going to come out of retirement was swirling Saturday. Hartley, who coached Kovalchuk in Atlanta, recently turned down a job with Lugano in the Swiss league.
Rumours du jour
Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier is trying to add a forward with some size. While Gauthier would like to move underachieving C Scott Gomez and his $7.37-million cap hit, that’s not going to happen. Maybe the Habs will take back RW Alex Kovalev from the Senators. He’d like to finish his career in Montreal and he sure looks like this might be it for him ... Keep an eye on Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. The pressure is on him big time to win the Stanley Cup next spring or he could be in his final season with the Capitals. If the Capitals do decide to make a move, they won’t reach far outside their organization for a potential replacement. Talk has already surfaced London Knights coach Dale Hunter, a legendary Cap and one of the most successful bench bosses in junior hockey, could be ready to make the jump ... The Sabres are looking to move veteran D Craig Rivet. He has been a healthy scratch six times this season and is the club’s captain. Making $3.5 million, Rivet is going to be a tough sell.
Have a nice Sunday.