Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery is rounding into shape for a comeback

Last season the Flyers thought they saw their chances at a run for the Stanley Cup go down in flames as then starting goalie Ray Emery went down with a hip injury. The Flyers fixed their issues in goal through a patchwork of solutions and ultimately getting Michael Leighton to carry them into the Stanley Cup finals.

Meanwhile, Emery was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that could cause his career to end. It’s the same condition that caused the end of Bo Jackson’s football and baseball careers.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman caught up with Emery as he defies the odds and gets himself into shape so he can once again get back on the ice and play in the NHL. As Friedman finds out, the means for Emery to get healthy and get around his disease was a bit awful to hear about.

Diagnosed with a degenerative disease called avascular necrosis, the former Senator/Flyer was given three surgical options to try and fix the problem. He chose door No. 3, which meant the bottom of his fibula was moved into his hip to improve essential blood flow.

“A rod was put in to replace it, right?” he’s asked.

“No,” Emery replies.

“So, what’s there?”

“Nothing.”

“There’s nothing in your leg where that bone used to be?”

“Nope, but it’s not a load-bearing bone. So it’s not a big deal.”

So much for ever sleeping normally again. That’s nightmare inducing. It also makes us think of Ray Emery being built like an old house with that talk of load-bearing and whatnot. What’s important for Emery though is just getting back to the NHL. He’s shown in previous stints in Ottawa and his short time in Philadelphia that he can be good and help a team win. Where would he go though?

If he could pick a team, it’s an easy call: The Flyers. “I loved it there. Great group of guys, always hung out together. No small groups of four or five, split up from everyone else.”

If Emery could come back this season, and it sounds like he’s getting into form to try and do that, would it be unreasonable to think that Detroit took a flier on him? After all, they tried to get Evgeni Nabokov on a whim to plug him in as a veteran backup to Jimmy Howard while Chris Osgood is out with a sports hernia. Detroit offers a similar type of locker room situation and with Emery being a bit older and wiser now, it could make a good fit. With Osgood due back by March though it likely wouldn’t make sense in the long run for the Wings.

Getting the quirky Emery back into the NHL would make for great theater as he’s got one of the more interesting personalities around. When he’s on top of his game he’s also one of the more entertaining goalies in the league to watch. Here’s to hoping his comeback doesn’t go all for naught.

 

 

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.