Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did Ray Emery ask to be traded?

"Trade Emery" from Flickr user blix613

There are conflicting statements as to whether or not Ray Emery asked to be traded at some point during the season. Ray Emery himself denied the speculation, but if you watch the interview, there appears to be some hesitancy in offering his answer. He was careful when answering the first form of the question: "No, I didn't ask to be traded at the end of December" (emphasis added) and didn't seem to know what to answer in when asked if he'd ever requested a trade, eventually answering "No."

General Manager Bryan Murray suggested that Rayzor did think a trade was his best solution, however;
"He [Emery] thought that there was maybe a situation elsewhere that he would fit better and it could work for him, but in my last couple conversations it's been the opposite. He told me that he certainly wanted to be here, he liked this group of people, he even told John [Paddock] and I that he respected what we had to do yesterday, so that's a step forward for him."
So it remains an interesting situation, to say the least. Murray has openly stated that he spoke with other teams about goaltending, implying a possible trade of either Emery or Martin Gerber. If Emery did ask to be traded, I can't say I would blame him.

Emery has had a difficult time getting motivated this year, and he's admitted as much. He has lost the starting job, and hasn't given the team any reason to give it back to him; the only reason he's gotten repeated opportunities have been the struggles of The Gerber to maintain consistency. He has been run roughshod over by the media, which has likely hurt his motivation further; why bother trying to impress a group of individuals who continually label you as an embarassment?

It seems highly unlikely that Emery can have a meaningful future with the Ottawa Senators. Fans are very tired of his lack of motivation, and for good reason. The media, as mentioned over on Black Aces, seem hostile because Emery doesn't give them what they want. Management is disappointed because they've rewarded him with a 3-year deal for $9M, and he hasn't responded positively. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Emery has likely exasperated and offended his teammates, where there is little reason for them to trust him as a teammate.

At this point, however, there are few ways to go. Ottawa fined Emery almost $15k for his lateness, which seems appropriate (if a little underwhelming), and they won't be suspending or demoting him. His behaviour and mixed results in games bring his value down in an already tepid goaltending market, so it's unlikely he can be traded for anything remotely resembling what we believe to be his market value. It seems we'll be running with the two-goalie system and hopefully this time around, Emery gives his training and play the work it needs for him to regain the top-goalie billing he earned in the last two seasons. If not for his present teammates, then in order to make himself a tradeable player so he can get a fresh start in another market--one with significantly less media exposure.
Postscript: Regarding the "Trade Emery" photo: Ottawa is awesome. What an eclectic town... graffiti, but it still all has to do with hockey. I guess that's why people want to get us called Hockey Country. Thanks to blix613.
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