Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ray Emery is popular (?) in Mystichshi

It turns out that, after a tough first game for Mytishchi, Ray Emery has endeared himself to fans there. After that first loss, 6-5 to Spartak HC in overtime, Emery (or "Раймонд Эмери" in Russian) has compiled a 5-1 record (according to, and the team has gone 11-1 overall and is first in the KHL standings.

Emery's been splitting time with the team's other goaltenders, mostly Vitaly Kolesnik, although Dmitry Yakovlev has played once. With 15 goals against in those seven games, his goals-against average is (by my calculation) 2.20.

After celebrating his 26th birthday just a few days ago (September 28, apparently), the Mytishchi Atlas website gave Emery a warm welcome and genuine congratulations. Here it is, roughly translated through an online service:

"Today marks birthday the Canadian recruit of our command, the goalkeeper from Canada Ray Emery.

"We congratulate our beginner on the 26 anniversary!!! Happiness and successes in all good undertakings!!

"Today together with the rest of the team, Ray at 11.00 will rise in the sky and after some hours will land in Astana, capital friendly Russia the states Kazahastana.

"Well and tomorrow, on Monday on September, 29th, in Astana we Atlas will lead a match of the Open championship of Russia against «Барыса» [I don't know]. We wish all command and Ray, in частност [yeah... not sure]!"

I love all the exclamation marks! They must be genuine. A few Emery superfans commented on the Atlas website, including local fans:
  • "Happy b-day baby. Hope you are having a fun time in russia and waiting for you to come back...Love you."
  • "Happy birthday Ray! I went to a Sens game last week and it just was not the same without you. I wish you the best year - Show them how great you really are! Cheers, Sandy from Ottawa, Ontario."
  • "happy birthday/dear Ray!be healthy and defend our goal as great as you do now!hope that my favourite team with you will have the cupwe hope u like our country and stay here longer."
  • "Happy birthday to You! Best wishes and good luck on Russian ice! My son is your big fan."
  • "I wish you happy birthday, the darling!!!! I wish good luck, health, good luck in career growth, successes on a life)))) I hope that else we will meet in якитории as that time and nevertheless we we will have supper together))) I kiss you."

Yes, the darling Emery, best of luck in your continued endeavours on the Russian ice. I remember the honeymoon period in his first two years with Ottawa... good times. Maybe he'll actually get an NHL contract for next season, but don't count on it including a bodyguard for him.

Fun fact: I got to learn a bit of Russian while writing this article. These articles would be easier if someone would offer an English-language website on the European leagues, notably the KHL. For the record, if you're browsing websites, "Календарь" means game results, or something like that. I think.
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