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When everybody above is ready to bout you about controversial values
Don't you think you better re-address the level of the cowardice rising to drown you?
Did you ever connect - or come to reject - or even inspect
The dreams that hound you?

When the prodigal son with a caroming shadow of hate comes to land at home
Well he's a mourning star with a champagne heart at his curtain call
And father never understood the way the work gets done
Don't look at me, no I ain't one, no prodigal son

-- Prodigal Son (BR)

Some paraphrased public thoughts from various local media on the topic of Ray Emery (no names will be used because I don't have the direct quotes and don't wish to be on the receiving end of bitchy, fusspot e-mails):

* One made reference to the idea that Emery may be involved in off-ice issues similar to those that said media personality experienced when he was dealing with drugs;

* One claimed that Ottawa is too small and if inappropriate actions were truly occurring, someone would have uncovered it and written about it already;

* Another stated that the only information he had came from what was printed or said in the media, basically insinuating that he had no inside sources to speak of.


Finally, here's a quote:

"(Ray Emery) is (expletive) out of control. I guarantee that whatever you've heard about him...95% of it is true." -- An anonymous source from inside the dressing room.

(There was more -- much more -- but it can't be posted here without repercussions of some sort. I will say that it provided incredible insight in regards to team and front office cohesiveness, and Ray's own mindset as perceived by his teammates -- again, according to this one person.)

Watching (and listening) to this psychological petri dish fester over the past 36 hours has been amusing, frustrating and somewhat surprising. For those of us who have been sitting on material -- for lack of a better phrase -- for nearly a season and a half, watching cracks finally begin to appear in the facade is somewhat of a relief.

Granted, Ray's latest truancy (on the surface) had nothing to do with The Pink Elephant sitting in the room that no one would (or could) discuss openly. But given his history of difficulties and general problematic behaviour, this latest incident, which could serve as the straw that broke the camel's back, has given many in the media carte blanche to begin dancing ever so carefully around the subject. (Aside: This alone is an experience in itself. It's exceedingly ridiculous for some of us to sit by and watch other media members pretend as if nothing is going on -- as demonstrated by some of the comments above. No one's saying you have to jump on the bomb and attempt an exposé, but if you're pulling any "Ray's just being Ray" nonsense, you need to check yourself and remain silent. There's nothing worse than any media's feeble attempt to play dumb.)

But believe me, this isn't a topic that could normally be broached with any semblance of truth or ferocity, unless you possessed a gifted photographer and an attorney on a choke chain (a fact that I have personally been warned about from friends and colleagues alike).

The thing is, the Senators now realize that they're buggered six ways from Sunday. Everyone knows about Ray Emery -- both in the city, and within the NHL. It was fine for the team to look the other way when he was winning. Now they're aware of his off-ice issues and the fact that he's not the real deal. However, they have signed him to a three-year deal that was largely predicated on one season (where both he and the team itself were able to synergize at the right time), when all signs and internal team issues pointed towards exploring alternative options. Fans and media alike must've seen this coming. A five minute conversation with anyone in AHL circles will provide you with all the required turbulent history between Paddock and Emery, going back to their days in Binghamton.

Yes, he was a troubled case. But it's impossible not to assume that the uh...issue...exacerbated the problem ten-fold.

Mark my words: As long as the Senators keep Emery in the fold, someone WILL write this story eventually (with photographic evidence and the legal protection required), and the aftermath that follows will undoubtedly be devastating for the entire franchise. If he stays, it won't be much longer before we see it. How can you assume otherwise when we're already experiencing a willingness by some to wade into potentially libelous waters?

More later.