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Getting A Second Chance In Philly
Before Emery could even make an opening statement during a morning news conference at the Flyers’ practice site, he was asked about his history.
Emery was bought out of his last contract with the Ottawa Senators after off-ice problems caused a rift with the team. He was the goalie when the Senators went to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007.
Emery played in Russia last season and said he was looking for a “fresh start” and realized this could be his “last chance” in the NHL.
“I really appreciate the opportunity being given to me,” Emery said.
“I lost that once before and have that in the back of my mind . . . I’m not saying I’m not going to be a fiery guy. I love playing hockey . .
. I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize that opportunity and the people giving it to me.”
Both Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and Comcast-Spectacor CEO Peter Luukko said they had spent a lot of time with Emery and his support team, and talking to many people for their opinions.
“Ray’s a pro and we’re a professional organizational,” Luukko said.
“Where there is perceived risk, in business, a lot of times there is a great opportunity for the organization and for Ray.
“We spent a lot of time with Ray; Ed Snider, myself, our guys have followed him. He has had a great career. He had a bump in the road, that bump in the road is a great opportunity for the Flyers and for Ray.”
Over parts of five seasons in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators (2002-03 to 2007-08), Emery compiled a 71-40-14 record, 2.71 GAA, .907 save percentage and eight shutouts over 134 career regular-season games.
He has also posted an 18-12 record and a 2.46 GAA in 30 career Stanley Cup playoff games, including going 13-7 with a 2.26 GAA and three shutouts to help lead the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007.
“For the most part I had a great time in Ottawa,” Emery said. “For the last year, things took a turn for the worse. A lot of the things I wish I could have changed about the last year there.
“That being said, I can definitely say I’ve learned from the bad experiences, maybe more than the good times. I realize I had a great thing there and lost a lot of people that I enjoyed hanging out with on a daily basis. I want to get back to having those good relationships and enjoying my workplace and the sport.
“It’s a great position to have, a great job to be in. That’s the reason I’m going to change because I realize the good things far outweigh the mistakes I made the last year there.”
Emery appeared in 36 regular-season games with Atlant Mytischi, of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2008-09, where he posted a 22-8-0 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
He also registered a 3-3 record with a 1.86 GAA and .941 save percentage in seven postseason appearances.
“Russia was a better experience than I thought it was going to be,” Emery said. “I missed the NHL, a competitive game every night, having that challenge. It was a no-brainer to come back when I had the opportunity.”
Holmgren said Emery, 26, would mesh nicely with the Flyers.
“He is still a young guy,” Holmgren said. “He is going to fit on our team from an age standpoint, from a competitive standpoint. He is a good fit for our team. We’re really excited about this opportunity, not only for Ray but for the Flyers.”