Before clearing out his locker yesterday, Senators goalie Ray Emery tried to clear the air.
Admitting he was like a "time bomb" this season, the controversial 25-year-old chose the Senators' locker clean-up at Scotiabank Place to try to explain his actions, claimed he was being made a scapegoat, never meant any harm and conceded he wasn't "a model citizen."
"Guys really like each other on this team. Anything I saw (in the media) was, 'The goalie's a cancer. The goalie's a cancer to the team and the room.' I love the guys on this team," said Emery. "There's no guy on this team that isn't a buddy to me.
"If they say anything different, they're smiling to my face and talking behind my back. That's a raw deal if they're calling me a cancer."
LIKELY TO BE BOUGHT OUT
Then, facing the reality he'll likely be bought out for only $2.25 million (all terms US) of the two years and $6.75 million left on his contract, Emery made it known he'd like to return to the capital next season.
"That's the team's decision," said Emery. "I'd like to stay here. I like the guys on this team."
Emery also touched on GM Bryan Murray's firing of coach John Paddock, who partially blamed Emery for getting axed.
"(Murray) fired the coach and he would have fired me if he could have, but he didn't, so he kind of did it the only other way he could," said Emery, alluding to the fact that when Murray took over again behind the bench, he controlled the situation by going with Martin Gerber as his No. 1 goalie.
Emery said it's not his fault Ottawa was swept out of the playoffs by the Penguins.
"I don't take responsibility for the team losing in the playoffs, I can tell you that much," said Emery. "I showed up late for practice twice this year and had an opportunity to still go on the ice and they told me to go home. When some other guys are late, they're just fine with whatever happens.
"They've talked to me about that since then, and maybe that shouldn't have happened. When I smacked the water bottle around (in December), I was mad because I had a rough day and a bad practice.
"All of a sudden, that was (in the media) me pissed off because I wasn't playing the next night."
Emery said he wasn't trying to be a distraction.
"I don't think I was a model citizen, but in no way did I encourage my teammates or take away from what they were trying to do," said Emery. "Other than those stories, which if I could take them back I would, maybe they were distracting, but these are professional guys playing through a lot and I don't think a newspaper story is going to hurt (their play).
"I probably got in more trouble last year, but when you're winning, everybody is still on your side."
Emery admitted he got off track when he wasn't getting the amount of playing time he thought he deserved.
"I wasn't playing as much as I wanted to. They were coming to me kind of upset with me. I was pissed off. You take a team to the finals and you're the guy until you play bad enough not to be that guy," said Emery. "And I shouldn't have treated it that way. I've worked for everything I've got and I should have worked to get back in there.
"I didn't. I approached it the wrong way and it just snowballed. They got mad at me and I was playing once every two weeks and I really can't play that way. I was like a time bomb."