Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Emery heads to Russia

Ray Emery's NHL career is taking a detour — through Russia, where he'll collect his paycheque in rubles.

The goaltender — whose contract was bought out by the Senators last month — has agreed to a one-year deal which could pay him in excess of $2 million plus bonuses next season with Atlant Mytishchi of the newly-formed Continental Hockey League in Russia, Sun Media has learned.
This, to me, is a mistake.

I was actually a little surprised that Emery didn't get a chance as a backup with an NHL club, as he has more talent and upside than some of those who did get a contract. I'd thought that perhaps, even, a team like Detroit might have signed him in the hopes that he could sort out his personal issues in a more positive environment.

If I was Emery's agent, I would have advised him to spend some time in the minors this season. He's young enough that going without the cash for a short period shouldn't be a huge issue, and putting up strong numbers in the AHL would earn him another chance in the big leagues.

Going to Russia doesn't help him earn back that spot, and it may be difficult for him to adjust to the culture change.

Moscow is probably an easier place to get into trouble than Ottawa, too.

UPDATE A colleague at work made the point that, in any other pro sport, athletes get all kinds of second, third and fourth chances regardless of their indiscretions. Think of all the troubled souls in the NFL and NBA that were given plum roles in those leagues.

Is it unique to hockey that Emery's been blacklisted like this for (comparatively) minor problems?

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At 12:18 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12:18 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Oilman said...

Sounds like he was contacted by three teams according to his agent - with Atlanta being one of them - but he wanted a starters position....and that is a mistake - because I can't see anyone offering him an NHL starters job even if he does have a good season in Russia.

At 12:26 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


He'll fit in well there.

At 12:35 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Blitzen said...

What a difference a year makes! From golden to goat. Hope he can make this work for him. It certainly is a lesson for others.

At 1:06 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger ryanbatty said...

I understand that after taking your team to the finals that the thought of playing in the minors might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but come on put the ego away. There was no chance a starters job was given to him but a two-way deal should have been an option.

I'm sure if he plays well in Russia he'll be back next year but the path through the AHL seems like it would have been shorter.

At 1:12 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) We disagree that this will hurt Emery's career. If he has a strong season in Russia he will be a wanted man come next summer.
2) If he stays clean over there, time will heal the wounds from this past season and GM's will see a 27 year ood who was once in the Finals and possibly not yet in his prime.
3) Either way, he won't be hurting for cash any time soon. The 2 mil+bonuses plus the 1/3 of 2.5 the Sens will paying him the next few years should keep Ray's wardrobe up to date

At 1:16 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Don said...

He was 43rd in the league in SV%.

You get 2nd and 3rd chances if the teams think you can help their team if you straighten your issues out.

At 1:23 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Don said...

Not many people in Ottawa give Ray a whole heck of a lot of credit for the cup run - he did what we was supposed to do (stopped the shots that you expect) which was an upgrade from the Lalime days.

His stats in that playoff year I think back that up - 12th in sv% of the 16 goalies. This year, Fleury and Osgood were 2nd and 3rd.

In 2005/6 Roloson was 3rd in sv% and Ward 6th.

At 1:39 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

No one's saying the guy's the best young goalie in the game, but who would you sooner give a contract to, him or Raycroft?

There's no question he can play in this league, even if only as a backup, and he's young enough that his best years could still be ahead of him.

At 1:40 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger general borschevsky said...

Even Mark Bell and Todd Bertuzzi have been given oppertunities with other clubs. I think the situation is unique to Emery. Personally, I'm sad the NHL loses him. He was a character, if not a character-guy.

At 1:41 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Steve said...

Is it unique to hockey that Emery's been blacklisted like this for (comparatively) minor problems?

Don's got it about right - there are plenty of NHL players who have been sought after despite having serious personal issues and/or being problems in the locker room. Most of them are much better hockey players than Emery.

At 1:58 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Emery should've called Anson Carter about experiences in Russia. Europe is pretty racist (NJ Devils Johnny Odya played while thousands of fans made gorilla sounds in Sodertalje!)to beging with but Russia is the worst.

With Emery's temper he could end up in real trouble in Moscow which is serious partytown.

I agree with James that Colorado should've taken him before Raycroft. I also agree that a year or two in Russia doesn't help your chances in NHL.

Mika Noronen is still in Russia...

At 2:25 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Responding to your colleague's comments, yeah it's very interesting that Emery is getting such treatment in the NHL as opposed to how he would be treated in almost any other professional league. Maybe this has something to do with how relatively well-behaved NHL players are? I wonder if the NHL's culture is somehow a macho reaction to Canadian culture -- where seemingly everybody, regardless of how bad the crime can only be punished as harshly as their lifestyle permits. I'm thinking of this recent ICBC million dollar cash for licenses scam...


At 2:32 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing I can think of is that teams are of the opinions that whatever personal problems he has wouldn't be worth the distraction, or would be a bad influence on teammates.

It would be nice if he could find a supportive environment in which to get himself straightened out but if he could be more of a headache than he is worth, a team won't pick him up unless he would be excellent, instead of just pretty good.

At 4:44 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Jo4nny said...

His agent probably DID tell him to suck it up and play in the minors (or get a 2-way contract) - but you're forgetting that Emery's head makes the Pep Boys jealous.

The consensus among almost everyone I ask is that Emery will get killed in Russia for one of his antics. Like, killed for real and not in save percentage. Conservative Ottawa it ain't.

Good news? The Sens buyout can pay to bullet-proof his H3.

At 5:33 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparatively minor problems?

The guy is a flat-out cokehead and worst kind of clubhouse cancer. It's all summarized here, because mainstream journalists won't write about it:

I wouldn't want him either.

At 5:46 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger dfsdao said...

Link to rumours posted by anonymous...

That's pretty fitting...

At 6:53 p.m., July 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emery's next problem? Revenue Canada who has a nasty habit of taking their cut from foreign income.

Whatever Emery makes in Russia is taxed at flat 13%. Revenue Canada will take that 13% in their accounting but when we're talking numbers like million or two the tax is 50%.

Ofcourse, Emery could cut his ties to Canada but that's not easy to do when you're playing in Russia.

This all sounds stupid but just call local tax office and tell them you're leaving to Europe for 8month gig and you'll make nice coin at 13% tax.

Canada is one of few countries that are this retarded. Most European countries have a tax law where you can keep money earned outside your home country, if you're outside borders for six months.

Canada? Nope.

So now Emery is already a tax cheat;) Sorry.

At 8:01 p.m., July 09, 2008, Blogger Pinder said...

At least Emery can ski-doo to work in Russia


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