Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The return of Rayzer

Attention all cars, Attention all cars, be on the look out for a Hummer, destination Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As a public service to the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol, above is the last known description of the vehicle that perhaps is still owned by one Ray Emery, occasional speed demon of the highways, battling compatriot of team mates and at one time a top flight NHL goaltender.

Emery will return to the highways of North America in 2009-10 and the NHL, as he and the Philadelphia Flyers came to terms on a one year contract, though the formality of a signature will have to wait until the July 1st window to open.

The Flyers, who have been seeking some stability in the nets for a number of years now, are hoping that Emery who last year played in the Kontinental Hockey League, will have eased off on his lead foot, invested in a top end alarm clock and will return to the form that at one time had Ottawa Senator fans thinking that all the pieces were in place for a string of Stanley Cup victories.

It's possibly a roll of the dice, the mercurial Emery has had more than a few troubles over his short career so far, the most damaging of course the way his time in Ottawa ended, with occasional brushes with citizens on the highways and management and coaches at the office.

Even during his exile to Russia, trouble seemed to arrive, a much reviewed video of an altercation between himself and a Russian trainer offered up the first hint that his extended road trip overseas probably wasn't going to be a long term option.

It was shortly after that incident that the suggestions that he was returning to North America first started to come out, the Flyers apparently first in the line up to try and secure his services offering him a little Philadelphia Freedom from his past, with a hopeful eye that his future will showcase the talent that many felt was on the cusp of becoming real.
Emery may be the first of the high profile returnees to North America from the KHL, the current economic troubles world wide have suddenly made the KHL a less attractive option for ex NHLers. With reports of troubled franchises and pay cuts starting to filter out, the pace of the exodus may soon be picking up.

As for the guy they call Rayzer, one thing is certain, (if and admittedly the jury will remain out for the short term), if Emery has put many of those demons behind him and can still showcase much of that potential that he had in Ottawa, then this will be a pivotal signing for the Flyers, one that could propel them deeper into the NHL playoffs next season.

If the wheels fall off the Emery Hummer as it heads into Philly, the Flyers will have change d nothing but the names on the jersey, but at least the state of Pennsylvania might anticipate an increase in revenues from speeding and driving infractions in the long term.

Philadelphia Inquirer-- Flyers agree to deal with Emery
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Flyers opt for Emery over Biron

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