Ray of light for young Sens goalie

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Ray Emery is a fan of "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler.

So it's safe to say neither Emery nor the former middleweight boxing champion enjoy being on the receiving end of jabs.

But when he's hearing critics talk about his inexperience possibly hampering his ability to lead the Senators should starter Dominik Hasek be sidelined, the soon-to-be 23-year-old Emery will gladly accept the role of underdog.

"I relish it and I kind of feed off the negative," said Emery, who will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow. "I've heard and read what people are saying about the fact that if Hasek doesn't get the job done that Ray Emery is untested.

"I know that if I'm called upon I can get the job done. People are saying they don't know if I can do the job. Well, I've been working hard to get here and I feel that I can earn people's respect. I know that this is a chance of a lifetime for me."

After spending three years with the AHL's Binghamton Senators, the road was cleared for Emery to come to the NHL when the club decided not to re-sign Martin Prusek, who landed a deal with Columbus.

"I've never seen Ray this focused," said Senators centre Jason Spezza, his close friend and roommate. "I know Ray is ready for this and I believe he's really mentally strong. He knows that he can do this. He can have a lot of success at this level."

Emery, who posted a 28-18-5 record with a 2.65 goals-against average last season, admitted it was hard to get motivated to play when he knew there was no opportunity for advancement with the NHL on hiatus.

"Sometimes down there you would feel like you were spinning your wheels and it was tough some days," he said.

"Every day you wake up in Ottawa you can't wait to get going because you know you're part of something. There's so much here that we can accomplish.

"I'm really excited about being here. I want to stay ready every day. I've been working hard to get this chance."


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