The troubled Senators goaltender, owner of a dizzying array of fine men's wear -- but apparently neither an alarm clock nor a day planner -- was dinged nearly $15,000 by his employers on Tuesday after yet again arriving late to a team practice.
The fine, which comes to 1/187th of Emery's salary, was a stern message from GM
Still, it was a very public rebuke, with an unspoken element of last-chanciness to it. Murray has to hope that element of the reprimand will finally knock some sense into the enigmatic Emery. Because, really, what other option does he have?
After falling short in the Stanley Cup Final last season, Ottawa's stated goal is to win it all now. While Murray's Sens pack sufficient offensive punch to cruise through the preamble, he knows no team captures the Cup without sublime goaltending. That's something he hasn't seen much of lately and he's fully aware that, for all Emery's flaws, he provides Ottawa's best chance of getting it.
And that's really the bottom line here. If the Sens are to complete their journey to the Promised Land, it won't be on the back of
Sure, Gerber was solid this season early on, especially when he won 13 of his first 15 starts while giving up just 28 goals over that span. But his 23-8-1 record reflects more on the firepower of the team in front of him than his own heroics, a fact best illustrated by his 2.64 goals-against average (23rd overall) and .913 save percentage (13th overall). Not bad numbers, but not the sort of Luongo-esque performance that billows a team's sails with confidence.
And Ottawa's goaltending savior won't come riding in on a white horse, either. All the trade talk, particularly the Chicago rumor involving
So it all comes back to Emery, the man who got them to within two wins of the chalice last year, but who has made more news this season for his tardy tendencies, stick tossing and willingness to mix it up with octogenarians over driving habits than he has for his goaltending.
It's obvious that at 25, an age by which most players have figured it out, Emery still has some growing up to do. The guy's clearly self-centered, and more than a bit of a flake, but not so much that it couldn't be forgiven if he could get his game back on track. After all, if every team ditched their goaltender when he became a little loopy, we'd be left with a league of snipers shooting at tiny holes in Score-O boards.
It's a bit apples and oranges, but compare the situation to the one the Boston Red Sox have faced. The team has dealt successfully for years with
That's something that Ottawa should have working in their favor. After all, these aren't the Blackhawks or the Coyotes. These are the Senators, a veteran-laden squad that should be no more distracted by Emery's silliness than they would by a boisterous crowd on the road. Their room is filled with character players, men capable of taking charge. It's time for that leadership to manifest itself in no uncertain terms. When he's winning, Ray can be Ray. Until then, lettermen like
That's really the best case scenario for the Sens at this point. Of course, if all else fails, Murray could threaten to send Emery someplace in the offseason where he's forced to buy his suits off the rack.
That should straighten him up real quick.