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I've started to wonder if Ray Emery ever thanked Dominik Hasek for his impeccable timing.

When Hasek went down with his adductor injury in February, it allowed Emery plenty of time to adapt, and more importantly, to get through a integral cycle of rookie porpoising. His surges and slumps (March and April respectively) were well documented by the media and fans, and yet his demeanour never wavered. Tales of Ray's maturity level only seem worthy of press when they can be perceived in a negative light (bug eating, aesthetic controversies, et al). But his ability to ride out the last turbulent waves of the regular season with a diligent focus, only further demonstrated his ability to perform as a true No. 1 -- and not just a replacement.

There are many in the media who believe Ray needs to play regularly in order to retain his form and confidence -- at least 55 games a season. Based on his play, particularly in the post-season thus far, most are ready to give him that opportunity. Granted, we're only four games in, but Ray has been spectacular for a number of reasons. Obviously his play has been stable, focused and very effective. However, he's not the star of the show. By maintaining his starts at a high, but not an extreme level (e.g. two shutouts), he's removed a great deal of the attention from himself. The spotlight remains, but it doesn't burn as bright. Emery has yet to draw any frenetic attention in this series, on or off the ice. And when you're a rookie goaltender stepping in for a probable hall-of-famer, that's the best way to handle things -- you want people to take notice, but not to the point of obsession.

Ray's star is on the rise -- but not in the traditional, flash-in-the-pan manner that often accompanies the tales from the playoffs. He's doing what he's capable of. And he is proving his point.

2 responses to "Has Ray proved his point?"

  1. All of the Ottawa based columnists need to be reminded, including yourself, that nothing has been won yet! Granted Emery has done fine, but if T-Bay had a goalie of near equal calibre, the situation might differ. Graham has been atrocious and detrimental to his teams confidence, whereas Emery has done his job, nothing more, nothing less. He has allowed his team to find their game without worry. A better team will line up next to challenge the Sens. As it stands presently, one of the bigger obstacles in the Sens path may turn out to be their own media coverage. If this inexperienced playoff squad comes anywhere near to believing their press clippings, the hard work and lessons learned will get left behind. Calling Havlat a Conn Smythe candidate after two wins is moronically illogical. Your cohorts at the Sun are getting carried away way too early on. Glad it wasn't you that said it though, or I'd really have to tear a strip. Bruce Garrioch is a total amature and doesn't ever think past his keyboard - he needs a lambasting big time! As Patrick Lalime proved two years back, it takes but a matter of a few bad games to undo seasons of strong play. Emery, on the exterior, seems mentally tougher. I have the feeling that each piece written about him only adds to the pressure. As an obvious extrovert, I'm sure he reads all media. Don't swell his head - he will face Martin Brodeur shortly and it would be best for team interests to keep the loose canon he can be, grounded. Best of luck!

    reality check

  2. Did I say that Emery was going to win Ottawa a Stanley Cup? No. Did I say that Ray was going to take the Senators past the second round? No. As of right now, he hasn't gotten them out of the first. I'm the last person that will get ahead of myself when it comes to predictions. I was simply giving Ray the credit he justly deserves for the work he has done thus far. End of story. There are no lines to read between in this post, so there's no need to go looking for them.

    As for Emery's "loose cannon" behaviour -- Ray's AHL reputation has tended to proceed him in nearly every new NHL situation. Based on his current zen-like mode, I'm led to believe that the doubters will be waiting until they're blue in the face for a meltdown. He's had his opportunities to act up. He hasn't.

    And for the record, I doubt anyone is comparing me to any of the other Sun writers. They likely wouldn't appreciate it. That feeling is mutual. Ray may read the papers, but I haven't written about him in some time. Somehow I doubt he's found the URL to my blog, so there's no risk of ego inflammation here. Call it a hunch.

    The Universal Cynic