Flyers’ Emery keeps fervor in check
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 11, 2013 10:34PM
Updated: December 12, 2013 12:11AM
If Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was sentimental about being back in Chicago, he was doing a good job of hiding it.
Even when he received a standing ovation during a brief tribute during the first TV timeout of the game, Emery was stoic in his crease, bent at the waist, waiting for play to resume.
“Last year was definitely a memorable year, and I enjoyed playing in Chicago overall for two seasons,” Emery told reporters at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Tuesday, while the Blackhawks were in Dallas. “But [it’s] just another game, and you can’t get too caught up in past experiences. You just kind of have to live in the moment and realize you’re playing against a good team.”
Emery was 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage last year as Corey Crawford’s backup, forming a potent tandem that earned the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league en route to the Presidents’ Trophy.
Emery signed with the Flyers in the offseason as a free agent, hoping for a chance to be a No. 1 goalie. But Wednesday was only his 11th start (he entered the game 3-5-0 with a 2.57 GAA and .908 save percentage). Steve Mason has taken the job and run with it.
Emery didn’t get a chance to face Crawford, who’s out for 2-3 weeks with a groin injury.
“He’s a friend, and obviously we enjoyed playing together,” Emery told reporters. “[But] once you’re in a game, it’s just a game. It’s not friends, it’s not past teams. It’s just preparing for a team you want to [beat].”
Bryan Bickell, who hasn’t played since suffering a leg injury Nov. 19, skated Wednesday morning. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he could return to practice Friday (the team will have Thursday off).
Sharp saves face
Jonathan Toews injured his left hand Tuesday in Dallas, so Patrick Sharp took some of his faceoffs Wednesday.
Toews’ left pinkie and ring finger were taped and splinted together. He said it was just “taking precaution” and wasn’t a long-term concern.
Sharp was 5-for-9 at the dot, while Toews was 4-for-9.
“I always say I’m better at faceoffs than Johnny, so now I’ve got to prove it,” Sharp said. “He’s one of the best in the league. He’ll be back in there taking them. And any of the big ones I’m sure he’ll take. But I’m comfortable playing center down low or taking faceoffs if they need me.”