March 1, 2012
Emery deserves to be cheered by Sens fans
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Ray Emery should be given a standing ovation by Senators fans when he is introduced as the Blackhawks starting goalie Friday night at Scotiabank Place.
All he did during his time here that any of them should really care about is help the team to its one and only Stanley Cup final appearance.
A free spirit who was bought out by the Senators in 2008, then spent a year in Russia before signing with Philadelphia only to have his career sidetracked by a serious hip ailment, Emery was brought to Chicago as a free agent last off-season to back up Corey Crawford. Now, he could now be getting a chance to take over the No. 1 job.
When he came on in relief Wednesday to lead the team to a win over the Leafs, it was the seventh time Crawford had been pulled. While Crawford has a 22-16-5 record, 2.94 GAA and a .900 save percentage, Emery is 12-8-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
”Sometimes it can be tough, depending on the circumstance or situation,” Emery told reporters when asked about coming into a game cold. “Sometimes it’s almost better getting in there and just relying on instinct and the system that you play by. It can go either way. It’s not ideal, but anytime you get in there you just want to do your best.”
As for the possibility of taking on the bigger workload, he added:
“Certain situations call for two guys battling against each other. When the year started, it was made clear there was a certain expectations and that’s kind of what you follow ... what you’re told.”
The Senators who played with Emery are happy to see he’s back in the NHL after undergoing hip surgery that nearly ended his career in 2010. Last season, Emery played 10 games with the Ducks and five with their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.
“It’s always nice to play against friends,” said Jason Spezza. “Makes it more of a challenge. Ray is having a pretty good season. I’m sure he will play a big game.
“He’s battled real hard. I don’t think people realize how big his surgery was and how hard he worked to play at the level he’s playing at. It’s pretty impressive.”
Said Daniel Alfredsson: “For myself anyways, it’s nice to see him back on track, healthy, getting a chance to play in the NHL. A lot of us thought his career was done after the surgery he had in Philly. Obviously, he battled back to get to this point. (Returning to face the Senators) will be an interesting story.”
Emery should be applauded for what he has accomplished, both as a Senator and in getting back to the NHL.
Kyle Turris says he didn’t feel the need to oblige Bruins defenceman Joe Corvo when the two crossed paths on TD Garden ice Tuesday. A day earlier, Corvo vowed to fight Turris in response to a high hit from the Senators centre Saturday, but retracted the statement in the hours leading up to the game. Nonetheless, he still invited Turris to drop the gloves. “There were lots of guys kind of chirping back and forth, and at some point of the game he just skated by me on a faceoff and said, ‘whenever you’re ready,’ as the puck was being dropped,” Turris said Thursday. “I just kind of looked and was more concentrated on the faceoff than I was on him. “It was a situation where we were up 1-0 and early on in the game. I just didn’t feel the need to fight in the game. At the same time, he didn’t really put any pressure on me ... he wasn’t coming after me or constantly talking to me or anything like that, where I needed to stick up for myself.”
THIS AND THAT
The NHL’s three stars for February were Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson and Tampa sniper Steven Stamkos ... In an interview with Le Droit’s Sylvain St-Laurent, Paul Coffey said he thinks Karlsson should win the Norris. “No disrespect to defensive defencemen, but every team has one,” said Coffey, a three-time Norris winner who had 138 points for the Oilers in 1985-86. “How many teams have a defenceman that can do what Erik Karlsson is doing? (The award) should go to an exceptional defenceman. That’s Karlsson this year.” ... Robin Lehner says he wants to be a full-time NHLer as much as anyone in the AHL. “Obviously, it’s a process and it’s not up to me to decide where I am in that process,” he said. “I’ve got to trust the people making those decisions.”