'Felt bad' about Paddock

Ray Emery will support Martin Gerber in net. SUN MEDIA/Errol McGihon

Ray Emery will support Martin Gerber in net. SUN MEDIA/Errol McGihon

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

Ray Emery rode the buses with former Senators coach John Paddock in the minors.

Now, with Paddock sporting treadmarks after being fired -- and admitting his handling of Emery's tardiness and lack of work ethic in practice was the prime reason -- Emery has taken his share of responsibility.

"I was upset. I felt bad. I felt like I kind of affected someone else's life or job or whatever. It's a business and that stuff happens, but that's a guy who I had as a coach for six years and was a big part of my pro hockey career," said Emery, addressing the media for the first time since Paddock was fired Feb. 27.

Relegated to the backup's role after GM Bryan Murray took over behind the bench, Emery said he will support starting goaltender Martin Gerber and the rest of his teammates.

"I think Gerbs has played well. I think the team is starting to play better. That's all that matters," said Emery. "I like the guys here. I want to go in and do well. We had a fun road trip and kind of goofed around with each other. I've got no problem supporting the guys."

Geez, you would hope not, eh?

Murray said he has seen improvement in Emery's approach.

"He was a cheerleader Saturday night when we won (in Phoenix). He was as happy as any guy in the room. I talked to him again (yesterday)," said Murray. "He seems to be in a good frame of mind. He's trying in practice. I don't see anything at the moment other than he is going to be available when we need him."

Just the fact people have to say things like that makes you shake your head and wonder if this team has what it takes to overcome what has gone on in that dressing room this year.

ALFIE, BIG ZIFFY

The news isn't good when it comes to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson's back and it's a long shot he will play tonight, likely missing his fourth straight game. The pain wouldn't allow him to skate and he was due to visit the doctor yesterday afternoon. Alfredsson is day-to-day, and Murray won't use the captain until he's 100% ... Bruins coach Claude Julien said D Zdeno Chara was back in Boston yesterday to have his "upper torso" injury evaluated. There's a chance he could fly here for tonight's game to face his old team. Chara missed the Bruins' last game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Rangers Sunday ... B's GM Peter Chiarelli said there's about a 30% chance F Patrice Bergeron, out most of the season after being concussed, could play again this season.

HEAR AND THERE

Murray said F Chris Neil could skate today for the first time since hurting his knee nine games ago. It's expected he will resume practising next week and should be ready for the playoffs ... Murray rejected criticism voiced on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night that his club is lazy. "On the four-game (western) road trip, I think the guys worked really hard. One period in L.A., the first period, we didn't work hard enough," he said. "In those four games ... they worked extremely hard." ... Murray said he didn't interfere with Paddock's handling of the Senators, particularly the goaltending. "Just so this is very clear. I made a point of making sure that John had the right to make every decision coaching-wise, partly because I didn't want to be one of those guys sticking my finger in and micro-managing the coaching department as well." ... Gerber likes what he's seen under Murray: "I think we play a little bit simpler than we did before. At times we were a little bit confused out there. We made it tough on ourselves. Since Bryan came over, I think things got more sorted out and more simple."

THE LAST WORD

Murray was encouraged by the third-period play against the Coyotes Saturday. "I thought the last 12 minutes of the game there was no chance we were going to give up a goal," he said. "I can look back on some of the games last year, when we got ahead on a team we just shut the door, kept the puck out of trouble and I didn't think we've been able to do that very much lately ... I think everybody feels pretty good about that. We're getting better." There really isn't any other option, is there?


Photos