Emery gears up to face Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Ray Emery is trying to treat it like any other game.

The Flyers goaltender won't face his former team for three days on Broad Street, but with Philadelphia idle until the Senators arrive at the Wachovia Center Thursday, Emery was already facing plenty of questions.

Emery, in the midst of receiving $2.25 million over four years from the Senators on a contract they bought out in June 2008, is trying to keep a level head as he prepares to face his old team for the first time since he was cast aside.

“Any time you have 3-4 days off, you are probably thinking about the team you play next,” Emery told Philly reporters. “(But) I haven’t played there (yet). You want to win, maybe a bit more. But each game is equally important.”

After five seasons in Ottawa, Emery was sent packing a year after leading the Senators to the Stanley Cup final.

Back in the NHL after a season playing in Russia, Emery is off to a good start with the Flyers (9-3-1, 2.77 GAA).

He doesn't worry about how the Senators are faring, but keeps connections to Ottawa. He was in Jason Spezza's wedding party over the summer, stays in contact with Chris Kelly and still owns a home in Kanata.

“I don’t follow them that closely,” said Emery. “I talked to few guys there. I don’t keep in touch with management or anything like that. It’s just a team I used to play for.”

Flyers coach John Stevens said Thursday's game will be a lot easier on Emery than when he returns to Scotiabank Place for a rematch Jan. 3

“Being at home is just another game for him,” said Stevens. “Going to Ottawa, that’s probably a little different. The fans are involved. It’s a city where he played a long time. It’s going to be a totally different animal.”

Emery, who signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Flyers, is putting some of his money on the board for teammates who score against his former team.

“Yeah, guys put money on the board, they have that kind of tradition,” Emery said. “It’s just a little thing you do. It’s not talked about too much. It’s kinda the first time I have had something like that.”

Priced out of Forsberg?

The Senators don't consider themselves a contender in the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes. While the club had scout Jim Clark at last week’s Karjala Cup in Helsinki to take a look at the 36-year-old free agent, GM Bryan Murray doubts he could fit Forsberg under the salary cap. “He brings a dimension to a team if he’s healthy, but I just don’t know how it would ever work,” said Murray. Forsberg, recovering from several foot surgeries and mulling a return to the NHL, looked good for Sweden at the tournament. It’s believed he would be looking for a one-year, $4-million deal in the NHL — and the Senators are already hovering near the $56.8-million cap. Nevertheless, Murray plans to contact Forsberg’s agent, Don Baizley, in the next few days. The Canucks are considered the top contenders, while the Rangers, Flyers, Kings and Avs will also likely make a pitch.

Pat's Back

Oilers coach Pat Quinn on Tuesday returns to Scotiabank Place, the scene of some of his greatest moments behind the bench — including world junior gold last year and playoff victories with the Leafs. “I understand they’ve had a good start to their season,” Quinn said of his old team. On previous games he’s coached at SBP: “I just go back on memory and the challenges that we had when I was in Toronto and it was terrific.” On these Senators: “They’re a strong team at home. We’re going to have a game on our hands.”

This 'N' That

D Anton Volchenkov (elbow) resumed skating, but isn’t ready to return. “He wasn’t able to shoot. Actually, he’s a little slower than we first thought,” said coach Cory Clouston. “(But) it’s a good sign that he was out on the ice.” ... Asked if he was satisfied with the play of RW Jonathan Cheechoo, who’s still looking for his first goal as a Senator, Clouston bristled: “I am satisfied with his work ethic and attitude, but not his numbers. I don’t think anybody could be satisfied with his numbers.” ... Clouston said “the structure” of G Pascal Leclaire’s game “has to get better. At times, he has been our best player.” Leclaire is expected to start.

Injuries

SENATORS: Volchenkov, won't play.

OILERS: D Sheldon Souray (concussion), out; RW Ales Hemsky (shoulder), questionable; C Shawn Horcoff (shoulder), mid-November; D Ladislav Smid (flu), could play.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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