Should and Can Emery be Saved?
posted Feb 4, 2006 at 06:01PM
The short answer is yes and yes. Given Emery's performance last season and at the start of this season, his sudden collapse may seem inexplicable. Injury does not seem to be a factor and I think it is safe to assume that Emery hasn't forgotten how to play the position. Is this another case of player mismanagement? There is certainly a case to be made.
If you remember at the start of the season the announced plan was to have Emery start as many as 40% of the games. This to ensure that Hasek reached the playoffs in "perky" form. Of course he never really got his 40%. Now at first it makes sense to give Hasek his games to help get back into competitive form, and to make sure he still had the goods. Emery was probably getting every four games. Unfortunately that ratio start dropping off after Nov 30. With the Senator's performance sliding the impulse was to keep Hasek in nets. Emery has been a number one goalie his entire life, and like many starting goalies thrives on work to keep sharp. He was thrust back into the line up after a long period of inactivity, just as the Senators were playing some of their worst hockey of the season.
The thing to do is to capitalize on the Olympic break. Send him down to Binghampton with instructions that he be played on an almost continuous basis. When the Olympics end he should be put into a game as soon as possible. More than most teams Ottawa needs a pressure tested back-up goalie.
It would be a shame if Muckler had to waste trade "ammunition" getting a new back-up when he should be keeping his powder dry, looking for value add forwards