Here in Long Island the question at 4pm was "where is Ray". The question was answered at 4:04 when Ray Emery came walking into the Islanders practice facility. The problem was that practice had started 4 minutes earlier and the rest of the players had been on the ice for 10 minutes warming up. At the time of this post I do not know why Ray was late. Went to the wrong rink? Flight back from his All-Star break was delayed? I don't know and I am sure like most people in the organization and outside of it I don't care. The fact is that Ray has or is about to run out of second chances to be a responsible professional. Had another player been late it probably would not have been a big deal, but there is little patience left for Ray.
Questions about Ray's work ethic are legitimate. Questions about Ray's desire and motivation are legitimate. The biggest question I have is, does Ray want to be a hockey player anymore? He is not behaving like someone who wants this job. What he may not realize either is the fact that he has become today's biggest hockey story in the NHL for the wrong reasons. The national media which covers the NHL is not talking about Daniel Alfredsson being the league's top scorer and its number one star this week. They are not talking about the wonderful story about John Paddock having 3 of his daughters join him on the bench during the All-Star game. Nobody is mentioning that Ottawa despite 2 losing streaks this season, has been the top team in the East since the start of the season. They are talking about Ray Emery and his apparent inability to operate a clock.
Many are now asking "Is he trying to get himself traded". To that I ask another question. Would a player trying to get traded behave in a manor which moves prospective GM's to become unwilling to gamble on his exceptional talent and athleticism because they so fear his motivation, work ethic and reliability?
What I do know is that I have no idea what is going on in Ray's head. He is unwilling to share that information with the media and if his coaches and team mates know, they are not sharing it either. If Dr.Phil weren't so busy with Brittany Spears we could sure use him here in Ottawa right now.
So what do John Paddock and Bryan Murray do now? Great question because there are next to no good answers. The only positive that could come from this would be a public statement by Ray admitting to his poor behaviour, tardiness, and lack lustre work ethic accompanied by a pledge to his coaches, team mates and the fans that those days are over. He will be first on the ice, last off the ice and a workaholic while on the ice with the only goal to become a good citizen and help carry this team to the Stanley Cup. I doubt we will hear that speech and I fear this will not be the last Ray Emery story this season which steals the spotlight from the good news stories surrounding this team that deserve to be told.
See you at the rink.