In the aftermath of the Senators 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the guy everyone wanted to talk to was a guy who didn't play a game in the series- Ray Emery.
The reasons for this are obvious. Emery's been labelled as a cancer in the dressing room, the black sheep, a problem. Rumours are swirling that he'll be bought out. Today, he didn't help himself with his comments, which were helpfully written down by James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen.
Reporter: Do you feel like you were unfairly treated down the stretch and in the end?
RE: No. I think, you know, he wanted to make a change. I don’t think he thought the team was doing too well and fired the coach, and he would have fired me if he could have but he didn’t so he did it the only other way he could.
This is interesting, and not what I expected. Although I'll get to the negatives in a little bit, Emery didn't deserve to play and its a credit to him that he recognizes this.
Reporter: Do you feel a negativity from the fans that are on your back a little bit and maybe a change of scenery is good for you?
RE: You know what, I don’t think it’s the fans. I think it’s media coverage that, you know, there’s not really a whole lot in Ottawa going on other than this hockey team. You know, it’s a big part of the city and you know, just negative stories are big stories anyone wants to read. Even myself, if I pick up a paper, I want to read the juice in there, so it’s part of the game but it’s definitely a different situation when there’s not much going on. If the hockey team’s got something wrong, you’re going to hear about it.
When I first read this (over at BDHS), I didn't read the question. I thought, oh boy, Emery's blaming the media, and he has no idea that things besides hockey happen in Ottawa. Instead, it's actually a positive comment, a realization that the papers can say what they want, and he doesn't take it too seriously.
Reporter: (Asks question about the perception that his performance on and off the ice contributed to the team’s slide).
RE: Uh, well I don’t take responsibility for the team losing in the playoffs, I’ll tell you that much. I’ll talk about that too. I showed up late for practice twice this year and had an opportunity to come on the ice. I was just late coming to the rink and they told me to go home and, you know, I think that if I’m just late getting to the rink that those stories don’t come out. When some other guys are late coming to the rink, they’re just fine or whatever happens.I think that was something that … and they talked to me about that since then and maybe that shouldn’t have happened. Or when I smacked the water bottle there was nobody out there and I was mad because I had a rough day, I had a bad practice, but all of a sudden that’s me pissed off because I’m not playing the next night…I don’t think I was a model citizen, but in no way did I not encourage my teammates or take away from what they were trying to do, other than those stories. I’d take them back if I could, but the way they happened and the way they were handled was, yeah, you know, maybe distracting but these are professional guy that are playing hurt and playing through everything. So I don’t think a newspaper story is going to hurt their play.
Lots of interesting stuff here, besides the obvious "it isn't my fault!" For one thing, he's right about the fact that it wasn't his fault Ottawa lost in four- pointing the finger at a guy who never played a game is silly. Individual players on the ice are responsible for their own performances. Blaming a lacklustre effort on the backup goaltender is lazy and flat-out wrong.
However, this doesn't excuse Emery from pointing the finger at other players and saying that he should be allowed to come late just because they are. If it's true, it says bad things about the managment of the team, but even if it is Emery was still late. I show up for work on time every day, despite the fact that some of my coworkers get away with being a little late. My professionalism isn't dependant on theirs, and neither should Emery's. Blaming teammates in the media is wholly selfish.
Reporter: Is the chemistry off in this room, from your perspective?
RE: The room? No. Guys really like each other on this team and that’s one things I try not to pick up the papers and watch T.V. if I can, but anything I saw that said "the goalie is a cancer, the goalie is a cancer to the team and the room and stuff." I love the guys on this team and there’s no guy on this team that isn’t a buddy to me. If they say any different then they’ve been smiling to my face and talking behind my back, because I have a good relationship with every guy and encourage every guy. Gerbs is my buddy. I shoot the s--t with Gerbs all the time and you know it’s not like that with most goalies. I think that’s a raw deal if they’re calling me a cancer to the team because I like the guys in the room a lot.
Emery seems blind to the fact that he sould be a leader on this team, and set an example, especially if he wants to be the starter. However, he also raises a good point- I don't know what goes on in the dressing room, and unless Brian Murray signs your paycheck, neither do you. I have made the mistake of assuming too much, and will continue to make it in all likelihood, but it isn't fair to act like those assumptions/deductions are etched in stone.