July 16, 2018

Remembering Ray Emery

Terrible news this past weekend as former NHL goaltender Ray Emery died in what police are calling a boating misadventure.

It seems Emery jumped off a boat for an early morning swim on Sunday. Only he never resurfaced. Rescuers recovered his body by 3pm

Ray Emery was best described by The Athletic's Chris Stevenson as "brilliant and self-destructive, a star and a distraction, infuriated and infuriating.:

Emery, who played for Ottawa, Chicago, Anaheim and Philadelphia, was known as a scrappy goalie to say the least. A modern day Ron Hextall, Emery enjoyed dropping the gloves and took on not just other goalies, but the other team's goons, too.

That made "Sugar" Ray Emery fun. Volatile. Competitive. Fun.

He had a tattoo that stated "Anger is a Gift," but Emery took it his love of fighting little too far when he debuted a mask with the Ottawa Senators featuring former heavyweight champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson.

That was the start of Emery's misadventures in the NHL.

There was rumors around the league that he loved to party. And then there was a road rage incident where no charges were ever laid. And who will forget the $500 bet he won from Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson for eating a cock roach. True story.

More concerning, at least on the hockey front, he allegedly was late for team practices on a few occasions, and later missed a team flight for a playoff game. Couple that with wrist surgery in the off-season and the Senators unloaded their goalie before he became more of a distraction even though he backstopped the Senators to the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

The rest of the NHL seemed concerned about Emery, too. He had no contract offers and had to go to Russia to resurrect his career.

He did get a chance to return with Philadelphia in 2009, but a bad hip injury threatened to derail his career once and for all. The injury required surgery that had 13 centimeters of bone taken from his leg and placed in the hip.

Emery was able to rehab from that and played his best hockey in Chicago. In 2013 he went 17-1 with a 1.94 goals against average and .922 save percentage as Corey Crawford's back up. The Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup that year.

From there it was on to brief stops in Anaheim, Philly again and Germany before leaving hockey altogether.

The controversies didn't stop, however. As recently as 2017 there were TMZ reports of a break up with his fiancee after incident involving restraining orders and arrest warrants.

I guess Ray Emery was right when he told columnist Earl McRae back in 2011 that "for the rest of my life, 90 percent of the articles written about me will refer to the negative things about me that happened.”

Even the articles following his shocking death at the age of just 35

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