Emery plays like the Devil

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

Senators goalie Ray Emery has a big fan in New Jersey -- Martin Brodeur.

The Devils goalie could be guarding the net at the other end of the ice in the first round of the playoffs, but he admits he's got plenty of respect for Emery.

"He's a really competitive goalie, he's athletic and he plays a different style," said Brodeur in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

"He doesn't really worry about percentages. A guy like him likes to pokecheck, he likes to challenge players, he's really active in the nets and ... he fights. I'm not a butterfly goalie and he reminds me of myself a little bit. It's kind of nice."

Emery, who will start tonight against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place, has had a terrific regular season and was featured on the cover of The Hockey News last week.

Playing his way into the No. 1 job and relegating Martin Gerber to the bench, Emery has picked up 31 wins and has a solid .919 save-percentage. The atmosphere will change dramatically in the playoffs and Emery is going to be under the microscope.

"This is the position you want to be in when you become a goalie," said Brodeur. "When you get into the playoffs, everything is going to be magnified. Every single goal will be examined. It's tough because people expect you to do well year in and year out.

"For (Emery), it's just the start and that's the way it is for him being latest goalie in Ottawa. It comes with the pressure of what the goalies before him have accomplished and it's a great challenge for him to try to overcome that."

Emery has a chance to make a name for himself in the post-season.

"It's easy to win games that don't count. It's great to have success in the regular season and win games," said Brodeur. "But when you start winning games in the playoffs, that's when people start opening their eyes. It's all about the playoffs. People will tell you they're happy about their season, and they got kicked out in the first round. That's not the way it should be. "

OFF THE GLASS: Senators coach Bryan Murray said he'll consider giving players a game off if they need it in the final six games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson didn't practise at the Bell Sensplex yesterday, but he will be in the lineup against the Bruins. Murray said he'll consult players before making the move. "Only if there's someone hurting a little bit and they want it," said Murray. "I will talk to the players. We're at that stage of the year where the players will have some input and I want them to have input. If veteran guys need a game off, and there's a benefit to doing it, then I'll do it. Otherwise, just play." ... The players were happy to hear the NHL has signed a six-year deal to keep Hockey Night in Canada on CBC. "Growing up in Canada, that's all you watch and it's such a great tradition, I know myself and a lot of the guys in here get really fired up when we're playing on Hockey Night in Canada," said Senators RW Dany Heatley ... The Bruins' No. 1 priority next season is to find a goalie. Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen have both struggled at times. Expect the Bruins to make a pitch for Anaheim G J.S. Giguere, but that might mean GM Peter Chiarelli has to clear salary off the deck. It's possible RW Glen Murray, who is out for the rest of the season with a groin injury, could be dealt in the summer. He's got two years left on his contract at $4.15 million per season and it's believed the Kings have shown an interest in bringing him back ... Talks continue between Calgary-based agent Stacey McAlpine and Senators contract negotiator Kevin Billet to try to get a deal done for free-agent D Chris Phillips. It's not known if the discussions will continue if there's no deal in place before the playoffs begin in two weeks.


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