Maple Leaf Memories of Ray Emery

After the tragic passing of former NHL goalie Ray Emery, I’ve had memories coming back to me about seeing him in an Ottawa Senators jersey. A common combatant in the Battle of Ontario during his many years in Ottawa, Emery had a swagger about him that you just had to respect. It isn’t often that a goalie could exude such a presence on the ice, but when you and all the other players out there know you can kick everyone’s asses, you get a little more respect from your opposition.

Respect; for me, it’s something I have for Ottawa. Maybe not their current ownership, maybe not their shaggy headed former captain’s antics, and maybe not for their enforcer Chis Neil’s gaptoothed face yipping away at the end of inevitably losing a fight, but on the whole I can respect a team that has rivalled the Leafs over the years. And this respect for my team’s rival is why I love Ray Emery – because he pumped and embarrassed a Leaf’s rival I don’t respect – the Buffalo Sabres.

I don’t know why, but I just don’t like them; always cocky with nothing to show for it Buffalo seems to be more bark than bite in the NHL. Thats why I took incredible joy in watching Emery throw with Marty Biron and laugh in the face of Sabre’s enforcer Andrew Peters.

In his first game back from a three game suspension Emery joined in on a good old fashion line brawl grabbing the Sabres goalie Biron and beating the pulp out of him. Emery was an avid boxing fan to the point of having the nickname “Sugar Ray” and a depiction of Mike Tyson on his mask – this should have been a warning to the Sabres. Once Biron was dispatched with the towering Peters broke free from his fight and squared up with Emery to protect his goalie who was haphazardly lining up for a second ass beating.

With his reach barred by his chest protector, and his arms no where near Peters’ length Emery smiled in the face of his opponent and took some hard knocks. That is the indelible image I’ll always have in my head of Ray Emery, him staring down a monster and smiling in the face of adversity.

The NHL and it’s players are mourning the loss of a well liked, highly respected, and incredibly inspirational goalie from their ranks. He battled through the CHL to make the league, through self-inflicted suspensions, personal life issues, he reestablished himself in Europe to get back in the NHL. His biggest battle came from a hip condition that not only looked like it would end his NHL career, but also his ability to walk normally. Ray overcame this adversity, too.

Emery constantly battled, not dissimilarly to a boxer, and round after round he came back for more. As a Leaf fan I could never forget Emery for his inclusion in the Battle of Ontario, and as a hockey fan I’ll remember his massive presence and perseverance.

Rest in Peace Ray.


Sharks Acquire Hoffman+ for Boedker+

Alternative title 1: Sens get 37 point player for 56 point player
Alternative title 2: Sens get fleeced by hockey team in California
Alternative title 3: Sens trade Hoffman to keep Karlsson, Karlsson will inevitably leave

Call it what you will, but the Sens just got worse by trading their offensive beast Mike Hoffman. As announced by the Sens themselves via twitter:

“TRADE: The have acquired forward Mikkel Boedker, defenceman Julius Bergman and a sixth-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Mike Hoffman, Cody Donaghy and Ottawa’s fifth-round pick in 2020.”

It’s not the return you would expect on a player like Hoffman, who put up 22 goals and 34 assists last season, but when you poison a locker room there apparently is a price your team has to pay to get you off the books. Following the rumours that Hoffman’s girlfriend has been leading a ring of harassment directed towards Erik Karlsson’s wife, it seemed one would have to go, and Dorion seems to believe that Karlsson will stay with this move.

For San Jose Hoffman is just a less scary Evander Kane, who they gladly took on last season despite his noted and locker room issues and the problems he has with teammates. Maybe being hidden from the NHL spotlight in San Jose allows for players to not feel pressure that markets like Ottawa, Winnipeg, or Buffalo incite? Regardless, the rehabilitation Sharks have gotten a lot of value by investing in destructive players.

There is a sizeable point gap between the two players – Mikkel Boedker scored 15 goals, 7 short of Hoffman, and 22 assists, 12 shy of Hoffmans total. And while age doesn’t factor in as both players are 28, Hoffman did play 8 more games. To counterbalance this you can easily argue that Boedker played on a better team as San Jose put up 100 points, 33 more than the Senators 67 points.

The prospects are are essentially a wash, although I guess Julius Bergman is better than Cody Donaghey (?). Both are depth defensemen at best, and both were massively minus rated players with Bergman at -20 (AHL) and Donaghey at -24 (ECHL). With the addition of a 5th round pick sent San Jose’s way for their 6th round pick in 2020, the Sharks also leave this deal upgrading on a depth pick.

I guess GM Pierre Dorion had his hands tied here, but if and when Karlsson leaves this is going to be an absolute mess on the Senators management teams hands. Why? Simply because we won’t hear a single word out of San Jose about the off ice issues from Hoffman. His girlfriend, who put his career in jeopardy, will fade into the California hockey landscape and Hoffman will continue to put up great offensive numbers. It was a lose-lose for Ottawa, but still, the return doesn’t look good.