Tyson mask KO'd early

Senators goalie Ray Emery returned to his old look for yesterday's practice after a meeting with GM...

Senators goalie Ray Emery returned to his old look for yesterday's practice after a meeting with GM John Muckler convinced him that his Mike Tyson mask was inappropriate. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:38 PM ET

NEW YORK -- For the second time in two weeks, the Senators have made it clear they prefer their Razor a bit duller.

After meeting with GM John Muckler yesterday, goalie Ray Emery "decided" to lose the facemask that featured paintings of his childhood hero gone bad -- former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson -- that he debuted in Monday's 5-0 pummeling by the Bruins.

Muckler insisted he did not order Emery to change the mask.

"We had a discussion," said Muckler, who added that he did not know of any complaints received by the team from fans.

"He was an idol of his as a boxer, but (Emery) knows now that he lost that right (to wear the mask) with (Tyson's) conviction as a rapist and a female abuser. Ray told me he would take it off."

HEARD BOOS

Emery did hear boos from the crowd against the B's, but they were for his inability to stop more than 19-of-24 shots.

However, there were callers to radio talk shows bothered by the illustrations on his head gear.

"I don't think he realized the notice this would bring on," Muckler said. "Now he realizes, and he won't wear it."

The 23-year-old rookie first drew management's concern earlier in the season when he was pictured on the front pages of the Sun getting a tattoo with money he had won from Daniel Alfredsson by eating a bug.

Then, midway through January, he again caused a stir when he showed up at the rink with platinum blond hair.

The next day he had it dyed back to his natural colour.

'I LIKED IT'

"I liked it, that's all I can say," Emery shrugged of his 24-hour look at the time.

Yesterday, however, Emery was in no mood to joke.

"I just want to talk about hockey," he said when approached by a media scrum after practice.

Later, when another wave of reporters tried to ask him about the mask, Emery ignored them all together as he sat down to untie his skates. He didn't look up again until they had left.

At least part of Emery's surliness has to do with the way things have gone for him on the ice of late. In losing his last three starts, he has allowed 17 goals on 62 shots, while seeing his record slip to 8-4-1, his goals against average to 3.23 and his save percentage to .886.

"I just have to keep working hard in practice and try to correct things I can improve on," he said. "I'll take it one day at a time until I get word I'm playing again."

While Dominik Hasek will get the start tonight in New Jersey, the Senators have a quick turnaround as they travel to Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins tomorrow. Coach Bryan Murray conceded the decision on who will start that one isn't a slam dunk.

"I haven't decided ... I was hoping," Murray said when asked if Emery would face the Pens. "But I'm not sure what we're doing now."

As for Emery's personal habits and choices, Murray said: "He's a young man experimenting, looking for attention. All I have always said is, if you do that you better back it up (on the ice).

"He's doing things to be different."

And, it seems, he's becoming less and less happy about having to undo them.


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