Emery is hurting only himself

SCOTT MORRISON

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

It would appear the Ottawa Senators have themselves a bonafide goaltending controversy after all.

Or, at the very least, a confirmation of one.

The question now, of course, is for how long?

It is obvious that it is no longer simply about Ray Emery's displeasure with not playing a lot, or at all, something that can be perfectl understandable. Rather it is all about how poorly he is dealing with his demise.

So, Martin Gerber starts seven of the past eight games, including back-to-back starts after the holiday break, the first of which was less than stellar.

Emery has a right to be sour, but he clearly didn't catch the message being delivered in Gerber starting again Thursday night.

That morning, Emery was seen having a tantrum of sorts, whacking water bottles and pitching his stick into the seats, as he left the ice after an optional workout, one in which he arrived on the ice 13 minutes after the coaches, according to reports.

Now, a little emotion and frustration and unhappiness about not playing isn't an entirely bad thing, but only when those emotions are properly channeled and that is clearly not the case right now.

Consider that the captain, Daniel Alfredsson, suggested the only solution and only way to get back playing is through hard work, a comment as obvious as it was damning.

"To get considered for a start, (the coaching staff) is looking for (Emery) to show that he wants to be in there," Alfredsson told Sun Media's Bruce Garrioch. "You have to work hard in practice to show that you want to play.

"That's what most players do when they're not playing and the goalies are no different."

Alas, this goalie has been different.

Of course, that comment comes on the heels of head coach John Paddock questioning Emery's work ethic in practice a few weeks ago, then again last weekend, and wondering about his apparent disinterest in taking part in optional workouts.

Just exactly what Emery is thinking, he isn't saying. At least not with words.

Emery was not available for comment Thursday, the day of his water bottle assault, and yesterday arrived late for practice and left early because, according to Paddock, he was not feeling well.

The team did not elaborate as to whether that was mental or physical discomfort he was feeling.

But just as damning as the Alfredsson comment of Thursday, were the thoughts of Paddock yesterday, more suggestions that his ailing goaltender is mostly suffering from work-ethic issues.

The bottom line is a couple of things can happen in Ottawa.

1. Emery can suck it up, work hard in practice, wait his turn and take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.

He did the latter, at least, earlier when he started four straight games before suffering an injury.

The key, though, is the working hard part, whether he is playing or not, and if that happens then Paddock would be in a position to comfortably find work for both his goaltenders. Until it does happen, the coach has no alternative.

If Emery bears down and gets back on track, it would be the ideal situation for the team, guaranteeing them terrific goaltending options. And we mean multiple options.

2. The Senators could try to make a deal now, but moving a temperamental goaltender with a questionable work ethic, a wonky alarm clock, a spotty driving record and a hefty salary is not going to be easy.

It would be easier to find one of the Spears sisters work.

If Emery were to comply with option one it would make option two somewhat simpler, especially since he is on the books for $3.25 million US next year and $3.5 million after that.

If he doesn't comply, well, the market obviously isn't going to be good.

Sadly, from afar and barring a change of heart, neither option seems to be terribly realistic.

It is ironic, but last season it was Gerber who rode the pines while the Senators rode Emery to the Stanley Cup final, which led to him receiving his rich, new contract.

The difference, of course, is there was no controversy then.

But now there is and Emery, the guy who seemingly has always enjoyed the attention, with his flashy suits and cars and trucks, well, now he is getting attention aplenty, all of it the wrong kind.

The bottom line is there is only one guy who can put this controversy to rest and there is only one way for Ray Emery to do it.


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