By Nick Tricome
The Flyers introduced their newest members on Tuesday in center Vincet Lecavalier and defenseman Mark Streit. They also welcomed goaltender Ray Emery back into the fold.
During the introductory press conference at the Wells Fargo Center, general manager Paul Holmgren had very high praise for the 30-year old goaltender.
"If you look at Ray's record since he has been back in the NHL, all he does is win. All he does is win," Holmgren said.
"And even go back to the short time he was here," Holmgren continued. "I remember his last game, we shut out Calgary 3-0 and the next morning I get a phone call, his hip is bad."
That shutout against Calgary was back on February 1, 2010, when Emery made 18 saves to keep the Flames off the board.
The Flyers took a chance by bringing Emery back to the NHL on a one-year deal prior to the start of the 2009-10 season.
He played five seasons for the Ottawa Senators before attitude issues led to him spending a year playing in the Russian KHL.
Emery's comeback with the Flyers was unfortunately short lived. He was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in his right hip after the shutout against Calgary. He only played 29 games in goal for the Flyers and it was possible that his condition could have kept him from ever playing again.
"It was pretty upsetting," Emery said of the situation during the press conference. "I remember having a meeting with [Holmgren] and Jim McCrossin (the Flyers' athletic trainer) when I found out I had that condition."
"I could kind of tell by the look on their faces that it was a pretty serious thing," Emery said.
Emery told the media in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center that he was grateful for the work the Flyers put in to getting him the best possible surgery three years ago, one that ended up requiring having part of his fibula used to replace his hip, and saving his playing career.
"I"m fortunate to the organization for the diligence they put in to finding the best surgery," Emery said. "It's kind of an experimental surgery and every year [the hip] just keeps getting better and better."
"For them to put that much effort into it...they flew me all over the place to look for doctors and all that," Emery added. "So coming back, especially after how things have went, it's real special for me to get a chance to play for them and hopefully do well in the situation. Just from that effort they put in to saving my hip and allowing me to play."
Emery was able to make his way back to the ice, but only after a long and grueling rehab process following the surgery.
He played 10 games in net for the Anaheim Ducks in the 2010-2011 season, earning a 7-2 record with a 2.28 goals against average (GAA) and a .926 save percentage.
Emery went to the Chicago Blackhawks the next season, where he would serve as the backup to starting goaltender Corey Crawford.
In the 2011-12 season, Emery had a 15-9 record with a 2.81 GAA and a .900 save percentage in 34 games.
Despite being the backup, the lockout shortened 2013 season was a very impressive one for the goaltender. In 21 games Emery recorded a remarkable 17-1 record with a 1.94 GAA and a .922 save percentage, playing a role in helping the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks start the season with a 24-game point streak.
Since the Flyers brought him back into the NHL in 2009, Emery has gone 55-23 in 94 games over the past four seasons. So, Holmgren's statement that all Emery does is win isn't that far-fetched.
Emery has been fairly successful in the NHL after beating the odds against an injury that could have easily ended his career. The Flyers rewarded him for his success by giving him a one-year, $1.65 million contract, a chance at more playing time and and a mulligan for his first time in Philadelphia.
"Being here in the past and the last time I came here, I was super excited about [playing here] just as I am now," Emery said. "I kept the relationships within the team and have a lot of friends in the organization."
"Knowing how classy of an organization it was, knowing how passionate (Flyers' Chairman) [Ed Snider] is, knowing how passionate [Paul Holmgren] is, knowing (assistant coach) John Paddock from the start of my pro career, I was just really really excited about that opportunity and a chance to work with (goaltender)[Steve Mason], a great young goalie, and especially the type of team that they have," Emery said. "I heard that [Vincent Lecavalier] had just signed. I know Claude Giroux and I can go on and on. I'm just excited about the entire situation."
We'll have to wait until the beginning of the upcoming season to see if Emery can continue to prove Holmgren's "all he does is win" statement true.
In the meantime, feel free to listen to the song below. Just replace anything Tim Tebow with Ray Emery in your head.
(Image from ESPN.com)
(Youtube Video from ESPN 1st Take)