Emery's exit imminent?

BRUCE GARRIOCH, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Ray Emery's days with the Senators could be coming to an end.

One of the players hung a necktie in Emery's place in the empty net where the backup goalie was supposed to be yesterday during practice at Scotiabank Place.

"I saw that. I didn't put it there," Senators centre Jason Spezza said. "I got out there late."

Emery's absence from practice, however, was no laughing matter and there's a belief if Senators GM Bryan Murray can unload the volatile netminder, Emery will be gone.

The Senators have clearly become Martin Gerber's team.

It was easy for the Senators yesterday to use the excuse that Emery was away because he was "sick" and insisted he'll be there tonight to back up against the Capitals. Heck, it may have even been true, but it was just another bizarre incident invovling the goalie.

While there are plenty of teams who could use goaltending help, finding one willing to take Emery, his oddball behaviour and his average salary of $3.167 million US for the next two seasons won't be easy.

Two teams that would have interested in Emery's services aren't anymore. Sources say the Kings haven't given Emery a second thought, while the Coyotes solved their goaltending woes by picking up Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers from Anaheim earlier in the season and signing him to a contract extension.

The Lightning put Marc Denis on waivers yesterday and may be interested in Emery down the road, but Tampa is prepared to go with Johan Holmqvist and Karri Ramo until the sale of the team is settled sometime in the new year.

Murray would probably like to use Emery to acquire a top-six forward, but with Emery's struggles on the ice and his actions off it, his value may have never been lower.

"I really don't think they could trade Ray Emery in his current state," an NHL executive said yesterday.

"Nobody is going to want the baggage that goes with him right now."

Two players told Sun Media yesterday that the Senators are having a difficult time with Emery constantly leaving morning skates early or not going on the ice for optional practices.

A number of players like to do extra work, whether it's the morning skate on a game day or a regular practice between games.

That can be tough to do if the backup, who is expected to stay out and do the extra work with the rest of the players, is already off the ice and headed for the parking lot before the whistle blows to end the workout.

"(Gerber) has always been a guy, whether he's playing or not, (who's) still taking shots and I guess that's a good sign. Regardless, he's always out there," said Ottawa centre Mike Fisher.

Things will be interesting this morning.

Will Emery show up? Is he going to be on time? Will he speak to the media and explain the last 48 hours?

This could be fun.


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