It’s all good for Emery

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The closest the Senators came to giving former teammate Ray Emery a knockout punch was when defenceman Chris Campoli knocked his mask off with a shot late in the third period.

Emery was the one left standing after helping his Flyers to a 5-1 win.

"As long as it hits the helmet, it's all right," said Emery after the game.

"The boys played a very strong, solid defensive game And they buried their chances. I knew I just had to do my job. It is a good situation."

The only shot that beat him was backhander by Ottawa's Mike Fisher on the power play to make it 2-1 in the second period.

It's all good for Emery these days.

While admitting facing his former teammates is significant, he said before the game it won't define his season.

"It obviously has special meaning for me, but it's not going to make my year or break my year," said the 27-year-old, back in the NHL and having success after being bought out in 2008 by a Senators organization frustrated with his tardiness and the distractions he caused.

After a year's exile in Russia, Emery is back providing top-flight goaltending in the NHL.

"I'd have rather not made the detour (to Russia), but it's all water under the bridge," said Emery.

Emery had a 2.27 GAA and a .922 save percentage going into the game and is looking so far like a different player than the one who showed up late for practices a couple of times in the 2007-08 season, had a couple of vehicle-related incidents on Ottawa's streets, fought with teammates in practice and became a sideshow in the nation's capital.

Flyers coach John Stevens has liked what he's seen from Emery so far, but he said it will take some time yet before Emery proves to skeptics that he has changed his ways.

"A few months have passed and it's gone well. There are no issues," he said. "But in some people's minds, they are waiting for that blip on the radar screen so they can say, 'I told you so.'

"He's more mature. As more time passes, the focus will be on Ray the goalie."

Lemme say this ...

It was a crappy day here to be out walking yesterday, pouring rain and windy. Not a good day to get hit by a car door, either. Just as we left our hotel, a cabbie opened his door and sent one of those bike couriers sprawling. He was rather unhappy about it. Yup. The City of Brotherly Love ... Lauren Hart singing the anthems and soft pretzels in the press box. It's a good night.

Parting shot

Oops. Don't tell the IT guys. I just got mustard on my keyboard. Hope my computer keeps worki ...

HEAR AND THERE

Oskars Bartulis made his debut on the Flyers blue line last night with D Ole-Kristian Tollefson out with a concussion. Bartulis will be paired up with Danny Syvret. Those are not names you want to be wrestling with on deadline ... One of the measures of the really, really good players in this game is their ability to make the players around them better. How about Philly D Chris Pronger? Matt Carle had a pretty good season in San Jose a few years ago, but was dealt to Tampa and wound up with the Flyers. Now, as Pronger's partner, he leads the league in plus-minus (+14) going into last night and looks like a different player ... You know you've made it when Reebok is going to make wooden sticks -- just for you. There you go, Jason Spezza. He's using a stash of old Sher-Woods right now, but most have dried out and break easily.

Speculations

The old Spectrum is going to be knocked down to make room for Philly Live, the same kind of entertainment/retail/fun thing we could have at Lansdowne if council would have some cajones and not cower in the face of a few strident voices. (Hey, it's been a stadium site for, like, 100 years and should be for another 100 years. Get over it.) We now take you back to regularly scheduled Cheapseats programming ... The theme from F Troop was being played between periods here. Haven't heard that in ages.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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