Emery rebounding after KHL

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

It's the last question directed at Ray Emery, capping off a 10-minute interview that barely alluded to his tumultuous time with the Ottawa Senators.

What's the best advice you've received over the last couple of years?

"I don't know," said Emery, laughing. "Show up on time?"

There's no attitude, no sense of bitterness for what was essentially a season of banishment from the NHL the talented goaltender spent in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League after being bought out by the Sens last summer.

Taking responsibility for his part in the ups and downs as a member of that franchise -- lateness and occasional temper flare-ups -- Emery is just thankful he's been given another opportunity to join a winning team in the best league on the planet.

Preparing for Philadelphia Flyers training camp by partaking in a two-week World Pro Goaltending clinic in Calgary, Emery gives the impression he will be one of the first on the ice for practice this season.

Russia couldn't challenge him like the NHL can.

And socially, he suffered.

"The hockey wasn't as good, but it was more a lifestyle thing for me. I'm a single guy. Being in a different culture, I was by myself. I found myself staring at the wall all week. You just feel like you're wasting part of your life staying over there," said Emery, who won 22 of his 36 games overseas with the Atlant Moscow Oblast. "I realized I was capable of coming back (to the NHL). If it just takes a little more effort, having to take some advice every once in a while to have a better quality of life, then you're stupid not to. That kind of sunk in."

One of his former teammates had a life-changing experience last year.

Brian McGrattan has a fresh start with the Calgary Flames after spending much of last season in the NHL/NHLPA's substance abuse and behavioural health program.

The two have been reunited at the camp run by Senators goalie coach Eli Wilson.

"He's been shooting here. He shot here most of last week," Emery said of McGrattan. "He's a good buddy of mine. It's a bit of a different story between him and I. But, definitely, if you're trying to get a bad taste out of your mouth, there's a great opportunity for both of us. He's got a good team here and a good group of people that want him to do well. I have the same in Philadelphia."

The two have come to blows on occasion as roommates while playing junior for the Soo Greyhounds and in the minors in the Sens system.

"We get on each other's nerves, but that happens. We're like brothers," Emery said. "Fight it out, then we're brothers again."

One highly publicized scrap during practice helped further Emery's bad-boy reputation.

"I think the bad rep I got -- I'm not saying it wasn't deserved, but maybe half was true and half was blown up -- I think that kind of died down a bit and gave me the opportunity to come back with a good team. I didn't have that opportunity last year."


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