Net gains all up to Emery

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:56 PM ET

Ray Emery wanted a chance to play.

This is not the way the Senators' backup goaltender wanted to get it.

Emery showed up with 11 of his teammates at Scotiabank Place yesterday as the Olympic break officially ended for the non-Olympians (it just started for Team Canada, but that's another story.)

Starting goaltender Dominik Hasek is out with an adductor injury and has all but ruled out being ready for the resumption of the season next Wednesday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.

Emery, who was struggling heading into the break after a strong start to the season, looks like he'll have to shake off those shaky performances quickly and carry the load for an indefinite period.

"I'm excited to play. I don't know how long I'm going to get to play. I just want to get prepared with the week we have here to get back at it," he said after the Senators practised for about an hour yesterday.

"Obviously, I want to play as much as I can, but Dom's my buddy and I don't want to play because of that. You want to earn your time. I'm excited to play, but at the same time, I don't want to see Dom hurt."

Emery, who spent the break back in Hamilton watching his brothers play some games, will have about a week to recover his form.

ONE WIN IN FOUR STARTS

"I got a chance to clear my head and get away from it a bit. I'm looking forward to getting back in there ... getting a stretch run going here," he said.

Emery has won just one of his last four starts with a .779 save percentage. Overall, he's 9-4-1 with a 3.13 GAA and .888 save percentage.

"He's got a big chance now to step in and really help the club in a tough situation," said Senators goaltending coach Ron Low, who will be working with his protege over the next week. "He has to take the ball and run."

Low said Emery's fundamentals are good.

HAS COACH'S CONFIDENCE

The emphasis in practice will be getting Emery lots of shots, particularly from the boards so he can work on covering angles.

Senators coach Bryan Murray said he expects Emery to step up and do the job like other youngsters have for the Senators when presented with the opportunity this year.

"Everybody sits and waits their turn," said Murray. "We always talk about opportunity coming up for people and we've had a variety of guys take advantage of injuries to other people and step up and impress and surprise us, help their own cause.

"I hope that Ray, being a young guy and waiting his turn, will grab hold of the opportunity."

Murray said he's expecting Hasek to be back sooner rather than later.

"I'm expecting in the not too distant future he'll be available to us again. That's why we have another goaltender. We want him to play games. Everybody was all concerned Ray wasn't going to get the 25-30 games I suggested earlier in the year. Here's a chance for this to happen now."

NOTE: The Senators' Olympians who are now without work are expected to rejoin the team by Monday.


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