Ray Emery Gets Chance To Prove He Belongs With Philadelphia Flyers

April 16th, 2014 by Mike Pantaleone | Filed under Flyers, Hockey, NHL, Twitter.

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The goaltending position has always been a sore spot for the Philadelphia Flyers. Their track record with goalies is terrible and there have only been a handful of goalies (if that) that have made a significant impact in Philadelphia Flyers history.

The Flyers have made many attempts to correct the position in order to make a lengthy playoff run, most of them unsuccessfully. Before the 2009-10 season, the Flyers brought “Razor” Ray Emery back to the NHL after a hiatus in the KHL with the hopes he could return to form and stand out as a true number one goaltender. If it wasn’t for an unfortunate injury that season, the Flyers might just have won that Stanley Cup that’s been eluding them since 1975. In the end, Emery succumbed to injury, lost his starting spot to Michael Leighton, and the Flyers lost in the Finals.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Ray Emery had found work with the Chicago Blackhawks as a backup the previous season and sure enough won the Stanley Cup, much like Richards and Carter after leaving Philadelphia. The Flyers were once again in the market for a goalie should newly-acquired Steve Mason should falter, and Emery was one of the best goalies left on the market. He was familiar with the organization and enjoyed his time here, so why not? Emery signed a one year deal with the Flyers and the rest is history.

This time around, however, is a different story.

Starting goaltender Steve Mason, who has played outstanding the entire regular season, is now out for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and potentially more games. He is suffering from “whiplash” according to some reports, but any real Philadelphia fan knows (or at least assumes) he’s concussed. With Mason out, Ray Emery once again steps into the undisputed #1 goaltender role for the Flyers, when the team needs him the most.

Many still talk about what could have been in the 2009-10 season if Ray Emery was never injured. It’s no secret that Ray was clearly a better goaltender than Michael Leighton. Now Ray Emery will have a chance to prove it.

Steve Mason’s play has overshadowed Ray Emery this season, but Ray has actually been a very capable backup for the Flyers this season and the argument could be made that he still has potential as a true #1 goalie. While Emery doesn’t possess the “quickness” Mason might have, Ray has more playoff experience and is more seasoned. He is capable of stealing games in his own right, and he actually plays quite good against the Rangers. He has a lifetime record of 7-2-0 against them.

While Steve Mason’s injury is certainly a huge loss, the Flyers will be fine. It’s nice to have two solid goalies in Philadelphia for a change, isn’t it Flyers fans?

The defense will certainly have to step their game up a bit, as will the offense, but he injury to Mason could actually bring out the best in the players. Playing with a chip on their shoulder could go a long way in a series that is bound to see lots of bumps, bruises, and flat out blood. Being the underdogs could certainly light a fire under their ass, also.

In hindsight, the Ray Emery deal looks like pure genius for Paul Holmgren, who snagged Emery from free agency for a measly $1.65 million. If he plays to his full potential, he could earn himself a hefty raise and maybe even an extension with the Flyers. It may be wise to keep him around this time.

Emery looks to be the starting goaltender for the Flyers for the foreseeable future, and he’ll be playing for a contract – despite how he plays for the Flyers. Expect “Sugar” Ray to bring his A game.

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