'Coolest goalie' tag bang on

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

A pugilist of some note, Ray Emery still is fighting -- but this time it's for respect.

Not only has the goalie lead the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup final, he's the subject of a two-page feature in the May 28 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Emery, 24, called the NHL's "coolest goalie" by the magazine, received more notoriety in the article for his incidents off the ice, than the way he has performed in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Through 15 post-season games this spring, Emery has a 12-3 record with a 1.95 goals-against average.

Despite his puck-stopping ability, the talk about Emery always revolves around his lifestyle, flashy suits and his tattoos.

JUST WIN

But Emery doesn't mind.

"I couldn't care less (what people think or talk about) as long as our team is winning games," Emery said yesterday . "I don't really care what's going on media-wise and that stuff. I'm just happy to be in the spot that we're in and trying to get ready for the series."

Maybe it's that attitude that makes Emery appear so cool.

It's no accident that the Senators are heading to the final against the Anaheim Ducks -- which opens Monday at the Honda Center

But it was an accident that perhaps provides an inside into the psyche of Emery.

The date was May 5, with the Senators flying to New Jersey.

Emery slept in and was running late. As he raced to the Ottawa airport from his Kanata home, Emery got in a car accident. The result? He missed the club charter and was forced to take a commercial flight later that night.

Emery led Ottawa to a series victory over the Devils the next night.

"The players care about the guy stopping the puck," Senators coach Bryan Murray said.

"The confidence the guy displays, his demeanour around the room, affects players a little bit.

"We've had different characters in our game for years. Some guys don't talk to their teammates and some guys are so focused they go off by themselves.

"All the players care about is, when he steps on the ice, with the uniform on, does he give them a chance to win?"

And that's what the players appreciate about Emery.

"He's a big reason why we're in the Stanley Cup final," Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips said. "His play has spoken for itself."

Murray said when the final is over -- win or lose -- Emery will get plenty of credit.

"When you're a young player, going through it the first time, there are always going to be questions," Murray said. "That's a normal thing that happens. (Emery) handles pressure real well and all situations real well.

"I would think, by the end, he'll get the recognition. We know full-well what he does for this hockey team."


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