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.

 

 

Habs president Molson pens glowing farewell letter to Markov

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Another bold move by GM Marc Bergevin, another statement from Montreal Canadiens president/CEO Geoff Molson.

However Molson actually feels about the franchise’s decision to let Andrei Markov leave for the KHL, he provided quite the goodbye letter regarding the 38-year-old defenseman. One can’t help but wonder how Molson feels about Montreal’s overall makeover, whether you believe Mark Streit is really “replacing” Markov or not.

Anyway, that will need to wait. In the meantime, here’s the very kind statement from Molson to Markov:

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Andrei for his great contributions during his 16 seasons as a proud member of the Montreal Canadiens. Arguably one of the best defensemen in franchise history, Andrei was a model of dedication to the great game of hockey. A respected figure around the league and among his teammates, Andrei demonstrated leadership both on and off the ice. Andrei’s commitment to our franchise was second to none, proven by his overcoming three serious and potentially career-ending injuries. I would like to wish Andrei the best of luck in the next step of his career, and happiness with his family.”

Speaking of Canadiens all-timers, Larry Robinson had plenty of nice things to say about Markov, too.

Related

Markov, Habs officially part ways.

Markov is headed to the KHL.

Sabres re-sign Eichel’s buddy Rodrigues for two years

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The Buffalo Sabres might have signed Evan Rodrigues back in 2015 in part because he enjoyed so much success as a college linemate with Jack Eichel at Boston University, but the undrafted forward seems like he’s making a case that he’ll be a part of their future in his own right.

The Sabres handed Rodrigues a two-year deal that is two-way in 2017-18 and one-way in 2018-19. Whenever he’s at the NHL level, it’s worth $650K per season.

Rodrigues debuted in 2015-16, scoring a goal and an assist in two games. He managed to play in 30 regular-season contests for the Sabres last season, collecting six points.

He’s shown quite a bit of improvement at the AHL level, in particular. After collecting 30 points in 72 games for the Rochester Americans in 2015-16, he scored 30 again in 2016-17, although he only needed 48 contests to do so. Rodrigues isn’t quite Matt Moulson to Eihel’s John Tavares just yet, but it’s possible that he might at least development into a regular NHL player.

Buffalo’s work isn’t done for the summer just yet, as RFAs Zemgus Girgensons and Nathan Beaulieu still need deals.

Andrei Markov opts for KHL after saying goodbye to Canadiens

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Andrei Markov wanted to play his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens. With that option officially off the table, Markov announced that he’s headed for Russia and the KHL.

“I didn’t see myself with any other NHL team,” Markov said during a conference call wrapping up his lengthy stay with the Habs. “I didn’t see myself wearing another jersey.”

(At least not the jersey of another NHL team.)

The 38-year-old also noted that he hasn’t closed the door to a return to Montreal. That makes sense since it seems like it was largely the Canadiens’ decision to part ways with Markov, essentially replacing him with Mark Streit at a heavily discounted rate.

Beyond the comforts of home, Markov was almost certainly motivated to play in the KHL because of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The veteran blueliner did not mention which KHL team he’ll end up playing for. There were some rumblings that Markov might sign with the Florida Panthers, but that turned out to not be true.

If it’s a one-year deal, a return to the Habs is at least feasible in 2018-19. Considering his age, it sure seems like this is the end of Markov’s lengthy run with the Canadiens, though.

After making NHL debut, Jones re-ups with Isles

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One of the Isles’ feel-good stories from last season wrote a new chapter on Thursday.

Connor Jones, the undrafted 26-year-old that made his NHL debut in April, has signed a one-year, two-way extension, the club announced.

Jones certainly earned his way to the show. He spent four years at Quinnipiac before catching on with the Oilers, spending time with both their AHL and ECHL affiliates before jumping to the Isles organization in 2015.

Though he’s not an offensive producer — just 19 points in 58 games with Bridgeport last season — Jones emerged as a good energy guy that proved an effective penalty killer.

With AHL Bridgeport, he also played alongside his twin brother, Kellen, who was in attendance as Connor made his NHL debut in April.

Connor would go on to play four games for the Isles, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.