PHILADELPHIA – Ray Emery’s second chance in the NHL ended prematurely. The Philadelphia Flyers goalie needs surgery to repair his right hip and will miss the rest of the season.
“It’s not good,” Emery said Tuesday night. “It’s not something that I expected to happen. I’m 27 years old, and didn’t even think I had played my best hockey so far. But, things pop up, and you have to work through them.”
Emery signed with the Flyers over the summer after a one-year stint in Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League. Emery had worn out his welcome in Ottawa after leading the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals. He skipped practice, tangled with teammates and made a reputation as a fighter.
He displayed none of that attitude in Philadelphia and hoped to lead the Flyers into the playoffs. Emery went 16-11-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in his first season with the Flyers. He had three shutouts.
Emery will be a free agent this summer and the Flyers had talked earlier this year about a possible extension. Those talks are now obviously on hold. Emery hoped to return if he can recover from the surgery.
“I’d love to, but this is quite the procedure, though,” he said. “I’m sure if I get a chance to come back and play I will have to prove myself. I love playing here, I love the guys and I love the city. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Tuesday that Emery’s surgery has not been scheduled.
Michael Leighton has started in Emery’s place and will likely be Philadelphia’s No. 1 goalie entering the playoffs. He is 13-7-1 for the Flyers entering Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay.
The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday and the Flyers could be on the move for another goalie. Backup Brian Boucher is only 4-11-1. Boucher led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals in 2000, but bounced around before returning to Philadelphia. The Flyers are trying to win their first Stanley Cup since 1975.
Emery hoped the injury wasn’t career ending.
“The success is kind of considered being mobile, not playing professional sports,” he said. “It is something that I have to get done, and after that Ill do my best to get back.”