Inside the Flyers: Emery seems more mature as he begins new stint with Flyers

Some ice talk to cool your July day.

Ray Emery hasn't played in a majority of his team's games since 2006-07 with Ottawa, which was three years before he underwent massive hip surgery.

No matter. The Flyers got a bargain when they signed Emery - the goalie who has made one of the most remarkable recoveries in recent NHL history - to a cap-friendly, one-year deal for $1.65 million.

Emery, who was at a news conference that also introduced Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Streit on Tuesday, is not only a different goalie from the one who played 29 games for the Flyers in 2009-10. He also seems like a different person.

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In his first stint here, he was suspicious of the media and never appeared comfortable. Now he seems at ease, at peace with himself. What changed him? Maybe it was his career-threatening injury, or maybe he has just matured. Whatever the reason, Emery seems much more grounded and confident.

The Flyers hope that carries onto the ice.

"I'm very fortunate I had that operation and it stopped the deterioration in my hip," he said, adding he had felt "invincible" before suffering the injury.

Even if Emery doesn't win the competition with Steve Mason for the No. 1 spot, he probably will make 25 or 30 starts and be a key player.

Asked if it would work if each goalie played 41 games, Emery was quick with a replay.

"One hundred percent," he said. ". . . It's more about the relationship. That's not to say one guy doesn't play tons and one guy plays fewer, but it's more about making it comfortable and that you get the most out of both guys."

Emery, owner of a 17-1 record and 1.94 goals-against average last season, says he wants to mentor Mason and be part of a positive locker room, like the one he experienced with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

"It was a great working environment; how we wanted to do well for each other," he said. "I definitely take a lot from it, just how relationships went and the season went."

Emery, 30, tweaked his groin toward the end of the regular season or else it might have been him, not Corey Crawford, who steered Chicago to the Cup. He returned to health after the first series, but the Blackhawks stayed with the sizzling Crawford.

"There's a certain part of you that wants to be in there, but it's your team, and it was so exciting watching the team win," he said. "I really felt a part of it, even though I didn't play in the playoffs."

When he was younger, Emery admitted, he might have pouted.

That was long before his injury, long before he saw his career pass before his eyes . . . and found some inner strength.

When the 18-member Hall of Fame committee finally got it right and elected Flyers coaching great Fred Shero, Ed Snider - who is chairman of the team's parent company, Comcast-Spectacor - said it was time to forget about past snubs and to enjoy the moment.

Well, I hate to be a spoilsport, but . . .

It does matter that the committee bypassed Shero for about three decades. If it had done its due diligence, Shero and his wife would have still been alive to share the honor with their family, the organization, and fans.

Shero used innovative coaching methods, his teams won two straight Stanley Cups - and reached four Finals in a six-year span - and he has the fourth-highest winning percentage in NHL history among coaches who have spent at least 10 years in the league.

It's laughable - and, at the same time, sad - he was ignored for so long.

With the Flyers spending four days of training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., does that mean they are headed for a Miracle on Ice and will end their long Cup drought?

Probably not. But the team does look much improved from last season.

The Flyers haven't won a Cup since 1975. Put another way: Only one of the team's current players, defenseman Kimmo Timonen, had been born when the Flyers won their last title.

He was 2 months old.

If the Flyers dealt hard-luck Andrej Meszaros, it would solve their cap woes and loosen their crowded blue line. Meszaros, 27, suffered through an injury-ravaged 2013 season, but he is expected to be medically cleared in a couple of weeks.

If healthy, Meszaros can be a team's top-four (or higher) defenseman.

Eight teams have more than $10 million in cap space, topped by the New York Islanders at $20.2 million.

Only 59 more days until training camp starts. But who's counting?


Inside the Flyers: Emery's Career Statistics

Ray "Razor" Emery, signed by the Flyers as a free agent, has a 126-63-19 career record. "All he does is win," general manager Paul Holmgren said.

Here are his career statistics:

Year   Team   GP   GS   W   L   OTL   GAA   SV%   SO   

'02-'03   Ottawa   3   1   1   0   0   1.42   .923   0   

'03-'04   Ottawa   3   1   2   0   0   2.38   .904   0   

'05-'06   Ottawa   39   38   23   11   4   2.82   .902   3   

'06-'07   Ottawa   58   56   33   16   6   2.47   .918   5   

'07-'08   Ottawa   31   26   12   13   4   3.13   .890   0   

'09-'10   Flyers   29   29   16   11   1   2.64   .905   3   

'10-'11   Anaheim   10   9   7   2   0   2.28   .926   0   

'11-'12   Chicago   34   27   15   9   4   2.81   .900   0   

'12-'13   Chicago   21   19   17   1   0   1.94   .922   3   

Career      228   206   126   63   19   2.63   .908   14   


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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