Emery's hot play a show stopper

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

Ray Emery did a Michael Jackson-like moon walk as he left the pack to accept an award as the best goalie at yesterday's SuperSkills competition.

Never mind that he was also the only goalie, as Dominik Hasek opted against participating in the event. Emery turned in an exceptional performance, particularly in a breakaway contest that saw him stop 29-of-36 attempts by the NHL's top offensive team.

"It was pretty tiring, especially those 3-on-1s (in the power play competition)," Emery said.

Then, refusing to let a trouble-stirring attitude die, he mischievously smiled and added: "But Dom deserved the break, even though he didn't have that many shots (12) against him (in a game against the Habs) Thursday."

Hasek, the NHL's top netminder, will get another break tomorrow, as coach Bryan Murray has decided to start Emery in goal here against the Boston Bruins.

Somewhat ironically, it will be the rookie's first appearance since he was pulled after allowing four goals on 11 shots in Montreal Jan. 7. In his start before that, he gave up eight goals on 27 shots in an ugly loss in Atlanta.

"We have four games this week," explained Murray. "He has sat out awhile, and we're going to give him a start at home, where we seem to play a little better. Ray has practised very well .... we'll probably go with Dom (Wednesday) in New Jersey."

Emery, who everyone admits didn't have a whole lot of help in his previous two outings, is pumped about getting back between the pipes.

"It's been awhile, and that's kind of different for me, not playing as frequently as I used to," he said. "I'm excited about getting back in there. Practice is practice, there's not that competitive feeling you get in games, which is the reason I play the game."

He also says his confidence is high, not suffering from his recent outings.

HATES LOSING

"I don't like losing," said Emery. "But I'm not going to dwell on it. Like I said before, it's not as though I made a lot of glaring mistakes and I need a complete overhaul of my game. There were just different circumstances, a couple of things I needed to tweak. If that's the worst I go through in my career, I'll be doing pretty well for myself.

"I feel really confident right now," he added. "I felt great in practice the last couple of weeks."

And should he continue his award-winning performance and be named one of the game's three stars, Emery will think about doing the moon-walk when he comes out for his bow. "I just might," he said. "Guys should do something when they come out."

He's right. Remember how fun it was to watch Eddie Shack or Brad Marsh get named one of the game stars?

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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