Emery happy to play

Senators goalie Ray Emery will be between the pipes against the Capitals tonight. (SUN MEDIA/Errol...

Senators goalie Ray Emery will be between the pipes against the Capitals tonight. (SUN MEDIA/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Ray Emery was biting his lip and his tongue yesterday.

The Senators goaltender will return to the net tonight against the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place, but he looked and sounded frustrated in a media scrum that lasted a bit more than a minute following a 30-minute workout. If Emery is upset at being relegated to the role of No. 2 behind the sizzling Martin Gerber, he wasn't interested in discussing it.

"It's good to get back. The team is playing well," said Emery. "I just want to get involved again."

After leading the Senators to the Stanley Cup final last spring against Anaheim and having off-season wrist surgery in June, the last five weeks must have been difficult for Emery, who will make only his third start of the year.

Not only did Tuesday night's 5-1 thumping of the Toronto Maple Leafs give the Senators the best start in NHL history after 14 games (13-1 with 26 points), the team also set a club record with its eighth straight win.

Emery says he's not surprised he's had a hard time getting a start with Gerber posting a 10-1 record and 1.80 goals-against average.

"Not when the team is playing that well," said Emery. "I understand if you're winning, why mess with a good thing, right? I'm getting the chance to play and I'm happy."

Senators coach John Paddock decided to give Emery the start against the Caps because, "it's his turn to play." But Paddock didn't give Emery a ringing endorsement when it came to discussing his work ethic in practice.

"I don't think (his work habits are) any different than last year," said Paddock. "That doesn't mean it's exactly where you want it. But each player has a right to prepare the way they want to prepare. It might not be what we want and it might not be the best, but, over time if you think there's a tweaking needed, you make (an adjustment).

"I don't know when it was last year -- if it was in the playoffs or late in the season -- but we played Thursday and Saturday and (former coach) Bryan (Murray) made it a day off Friday and Saturday was optional. Emery didn't go out (either day) and we won. He's not the only player not practising like I might not like every day. He's no different than other guys. But, if they all practised like Zdeno Chara, they'd drive each other crazy because he's a perfectionist."

You can expect Gerber to start against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday which would be a pretty strong indication of where Emery stands.

"(Gerber) has been unbelievable," said centre Mike Fisher. "The way (Gerber) practises, competes, his character and the way he works out in the room, I'm not really surprised."

Emery's goal is simple.

"I've just got to get in and play well," he said.


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