Ex-Senator finally talks

Former Sens goaltender Ray Emery went on the record on TSN's Off The Record. SUN MEDIA/Sean...

Former Sens goaltender Ray Emery went on the record on TSN's Off The Record. SUN MEDIA/Sean Kilpatrick

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

Ex-Senators goaltender Ray Emery said he does not have a drug problem and has taken steps to rehabilitate his flailing career as he spoke publicly for the first time since being bought out by the Senators last month.

"No, I don't have a drug problem. I've heard that (rumour), yeah," Emery told TSN's Michael Landsberg on Off The Record yesterday. "People like to talk. People see you out and if you're associated with anyone that's seen as being like that, it snowballs."

After a series of incidents last year with the Senators -- involving a case of road rage, being late for practice and rumours of too much partying -- Emery found no takers among NHL teams when the Senators bought out the last two years and $6.75 million (all terms US) remaining on his original three-year, $9.5-million contract. That made him an unrestricted free agent and he signed a one-year, $2-million deal with Atlant Mytishchi -- in a suburb of Moscow -- to play in the new Continental Hockey League next season.

Did Emery think the rumours hurt his chances of signing with another NHL team?

"People can think what they want. I'm not really one who looks into that. I don't read newspapers. I don't go on blogs and all that stuff. It definitely can be hurtful to a career or family or anything," he said.

On the occasion of Emery signing the Russian deal, his agent, J.P. Barry, said: "I've been talking to Ray a lot over the last couple of months and I know he's taken a lot of steps to make changes. This is his best opportunity to play next year."

When questioned about those changes by Landsberg, Emery replied: "I just kind of got away from things. I got myself in shape. I just kind of started to rethink some of the ways I went about things. I'm not going to go into detail. I want to say I made myself a better person and better athlete, whatever, family member. It was a thing I felt I needed to do and I'm really glad I've done it."

Emery also denied he partied too much.

"No. I like to go out and I like to have fun. I wouldn't be out before a game. I wouldn't jeopardize things like that, I don't think. In my eyes, no, but it's been brought to my attention before."

Emery admitted he was questioned by Senators GM Bryan Murray about the partying.

"There were a couple of times, but I don't want to really get into that right now," he said, adding he told Murray he had nothing to worry about.

Emery was pretty much contrite when it came to his incidents of tardiness last year and admitted he was frustrated after helping the Senators to the Stanley Cup final while playing hurt, only to lose his job to Martin Gerber last fall.

"It started off tough and I kind of didn't (uphold) my part of the deal. I was looking at things a big differently. I thought I deserved certain chances and instead of working for them, I kind of pouted a bit," he said. "It kind of compounded and I did a lot of stupid things to just amplify it and here we are ... Would I change anything about my life right now? No. I did some things, I showed up late, which you shouldn't, and I apologized for that. I'm not losing sleep over it right now."

Emery said he isn't wired to be on time and admitted his tardiness became a distraction. But he didn't feel like he was singled out by Murray as the reason for the club's "bad season," as Landsberg put it.

"No, I don't think so. My actions were amplified. Everyone wanted to see what was happening when it wasn't me that was losing games. It was me who had this stupid little sideshow going. I think it got more attention. I don't think they thought it was me that lost the playoff round or anything like that."

On his move to Russia, Emery said: "I could have grind it out and tried to get a job here at 1/10th of the salary. It's also an opportunity. Like I said, I want to change things about myself, so you wipe the slate clean and move to a new place. That's a lot of things to preoccupy yourself with and immerse yourself in, that type of lifestyle. You can focus on playing hockey."

To Senators fans, he said: "I've said I'm sorry for certain things before and definitely I'm regretful I didn't get a chance to really establish myself and really play here. As far as the team, I'm not worried about the team. They've got a great team."


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