Emery gives Sens scare

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 PM ET

In obvious discomfort after taking a shot on his catching glove yesterday at practice, Senators goalie Ray Emery smashed his stick and left the ice.

The Senators' top 'tender was quick, however, to assure the gathered press corps he'll be ready for Game 1 against the Devils on Thursday in New Jersey.

"As long as I'm ready when they sing the songs, that's all that matters," Emery said in reference to the national anthems after emerging from the training room.

Of course, this being playoff time, Emery wasn't going to get away with a vague answer, especially in light of the fact the injury was to the same hand he hurt during a practice in November in Atlanta.

"No, I feel pretty good," the goalie said while keeping his hand in the pocket of his jeans as he did interviews.

Did you injure the hand at all?

"No. I was just testing my stick out on the post," Emery said with more than a hint of sarcasm.

Will you be ready for Game 1?

"Definitely," he said.

All right, then. Case closed.

Since Emery didn't turn out to be a wealth of information, Senators coach Bryan Murray was also quizzed.

REPLACED BY GUARD

"We were going to skate and do 4-on-4, he took a shot in the wrong area and I told him to get off the ice because we had Kelly Guard waiting. Other than that, he's fine ... I thought it was fine for him to leave practice early," said Murray.

Other than the Emery injury, the most intriguing question yesterday was, when will the series against New Jersey finally start?

In was answered, in full, early last night.

Game 1 will be, as speculated, Thursday at 7 p.m. at Continental Airlines. Game 2 is set for 8 p.m. Saturday because of an ice show that had already been scheduled.

Games 3 and 4 will be 7 p.m. starts on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, in Ottawa.

Game 5, if necessary, will be held Saturday, May 3 -- also at 8 p.m. in East Rutherford.

If the last two games are necessary, they'll be 7 p.m. starts -- Game 6 here May 7 and Game 7 on May 9 in New Jersey.

LOU SAYS NO

The Senators had been told to be ready to start tonight if the Devils knocked off the Lightning on Sunday --which they did.

But it's believed New Jersey coach and GM Lou Lamoriello balked at playing only two days the Tampa series.

So by the time the puck is dropped in Game 1, the Senators will not have played for a week.

Murray isn't worried about his team having too much time off.

"This gives these guys a chance to read the paper and watch television, but there's lots of hockey up here," said Murray. "If I was in (another) market, it might be different. Here, there's a real focus on our team and it's really important. That helps."


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