Thursday, January 25, 2007

His name is Raaaaaaaay: Part a Million

Seriously, who doesn't know all about super-fly-ghetto fabulous Ray Emery by now?

Mr. Emery, otherwise known as Em, otherwise known as Sugar Ray, otherwise known as Rayzor [the REAL Rayzor! That thief in Toronto is unworthy] is the newly minted number one in Ottawa after out-playing and generally out-cooling the free agent albatross known as Martin Gerber.

Emery played for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL and was named Top Goaltender of the entire CHL in 2001-2002. He moved on to the Binghamton Senators in 2002-2003 where he made the All-Rookie team in 2003 and had a couple of stints with the big club.

Our boy is a boxing fan as he's been known to be quite the fighter. During his stint in the OHL he had 4-on ice fights in 2000-2001 and during his time in the AHL he was suspended twice. In 2003-2004 he was again suspended, this time for 5 games for swinging his stick at Michel Ouellet.

His antics didn't stop as he drew the ire of the rather conservative Senators front office with tales of cockroach eating, inviting the press along while he got inked up, bleached hair and masks with Mike Tyson on them. When Old Man Hasek's duct tape and paper clips fell out of his groin, Emery let his play do all the talking by setting a record for wins in the 2005-2006 season. He won his first 9 games and tied Bernie Parent's record of most wins in a month with 12 Ws in March. He helped the Senators through the first round in the playoffs although his inexperience was certainly evident against a stronger Buffalo team.

After the Senators were bounced from the playoffs, people were still tentative about whether or not this guy was indeed the answer to the Senators' perpetual goaltending woes. Cue Gerber, the large contract and what was supposed to be goaltending security. However, Gerber proved the theory that sometimes numbers don't lie as he struggled greatly throughout the season. Emery was called in and stole the show as he solidified his position as the go-to guy. He's a key component in the Senators' success despite being out Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza.

I have no doubt in my mind that Emery should be number one. I'm on record in saying that I thought bringing in Gerber was a good idea simply because it was a logical move to make. Hasek certainly wasn't going to be brought back and Gerber was the best goaltender available. Sure, he stunk during the playoffs but you could rationalize and say that was because he was ill and his psyche was effected as a result of having to play even though he wasn't 100%. He may have put the Senators in a bit of a situation financially, but if anything, his presence helped push Emery to work harder and develop his own skills. He's a competitive guy by nature and to have that sort of motivation must have done wonders for him.

Emery is characterized as an athletic goalie with great lateral movement. He's a rare breed in goaltenders in that he's a big ball of weird. While he's curbed some of his bad boy wild antics in the past little while [well, I don't know if he's curbed them, we just hear less about them] you can still see him show up in some interesting suits and hear stories of him asking his parents for 3-foot ball pythons for Christmas. And I love that he's a freak of nature and that yes, he probably could kick your arse.

The Ideal Game
In no specific order:

1) The right arena music: Nothing kills the mood more than a poor choice of an accompanying soundtrack.

2) Big Hits - The kind that make you go "MAN, IF I WAS SITTING CLOSER I COULD HAVE DIED!"

3) A Tight Game - I'm one of those people that get nervous and stressed easily. But heck, if your team is running away with it, then it just isn't as interesting, is it?

4) A Hat Trick - Because I'm really curious as to whether or not you get your hats back. I will pretend to throw one but secretly put it back in my seat.

5) FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! - One where the players on the bench bang their sticks on the boards, you're up on the edge of your seat and one that just sparks something in the crowd.

6) Break! Away! - Preferrably one where the guy just stepped out of the penalty box. If it's against my team, the one where the goalie just makes a save that you know won the game for you.

7) A Backstory - Whether it be an old teammate visiting, or an old coach, like Primetime television, it's just not the same without a little bit of drama.

8) Somebody Mic'd Up - Throwing out gems like singing "Mr. Brightside" horribly [or adorably].

9) The Three Stars come out on the ice - And give their sticks to the kids in the crowd.

10) The High-Fives - For both teams, even the visitors to acknowledge the kids hanging over the railing, just looking for some acknowledgement because it's the fans that make it.


Heather B. said...

Hey now, Rob Ray was Rayzor before either of these other guys. That said, I like Emery. I thought he got too much blame for your playoff defeat last year. Still not convinced he didn't sell his soul to Satan in the off-season however.

Paige said...

Isn't it sort of ironic that one of the only black guys in the NHL is ghetto-fabulous? Of course, I don't beleive Mike Griere is.

Sasky said...

As my brother says and I quote.

"Dude if I were in the NHL I'd be like Ray Emery. He's a pimp mofo man."