Thursday, August 13, 2009


Ray Emery is already sporting the Philadelphia Flyers orange and black. His mask, however, is still a blank canvas; perhaps a symbol of Emery's fresh approach to being back in the National Hockey League.

''I went through a point there where I didn't appreciate the game and I had it taken away from me,'' Emery said following a morning skate with his newest teammates. ''I realize that the game is a big part of my life and I want to embrace that part of my life. I've learned from what I went through and it's a growing process.''

Just one short year after backstopping the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals, the Sens washed their hands of the talented and flamboyant goaltender. Questionable work habits, alleged road rage, and violent outbursts on the ice - including a scrap with teammate Brian McGratton - all led to his eventual exile.

''Little distractions take away from the team and there were definitely little distractions around,'' said Emery of his time in the nation's capital. ''I realize that now, so hopefully that's in the past. I (just) have to make sure I'm a good teammate and keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble''

No other NHL teams took the risk of picking up Emery last year, so the 26-year-old played in Russia last season. There was a rough patch or two for the Cayuga, Ontario native but most importantly he proved he could still play the game at a high level, which is why the Flyers came calling.

''I didn't realize how much I liked the game,'' said Emery. ''It's not that exciting not being at the highest level I can play at.''

It looks like Emery will have every opportunity to carry the lion's share of games this season. Goaltender Brian Boucher will be pushing for the starting job as well, however Boucher has mainly been a back-up goaltender since the lock out. And just because Emery has matured does not mean he's lost his competitive edge.

''I'm a fiery guy,'' said Emery. ''That's not going to change and I don't want it to.''

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