IWOULD LIKE to think that the Flyers were just trying to stir the free-agent pot when they acknowledged that former Ottawa goalie Ray Emery could possibly be with the team in camp this fall.
Problem is, I really believe they are serious, at least for right now.
Emery was a stud during the Senators' run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007.
But his well-known self-control problem became more than just an issue. He fought with his teammates in the locker room, became a target for Ottawa traffic cops, admitted in a USA Today interview that he liked to party, was finally bought out by the Senators and went to Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, where he posted a 22-8 record this season.
But he was still the same Emery and he can be found on YouTube punching and pushing a trainer in the tunnel after being pulled from a game.
It makes sense that the Flyers would be interested in a goalie who is capable of the kind of hockey Emery has played. But this is not the kind of guy the Flyers need in that locker room.
I don't care if he went through all the therapy in the world. This is a young team with a young captain and I would not want to be Mike Richards if Emery were to be signed and the Flyers were unable to get him to grow up.
How many times does it have to be proved that a guy can't be changed just because a franchise thinks it can change him?
Two letters: T.O.
The Flyers need to sign a goalie, but there is time. Marty Biron isn't the best in the game, but he is good. Goaltending did not cost the Flyers the Pittsburgh series. Both Biron and Antero Niittymaki are unrestricted free agents. Both are testing the free-agent market and it has been quietly said that Biron is not just looking for a long-term contract; he's looking for a big-money long-term contract.
That can't happen. The Flyers need to upgrade their defense. And doing that is going to take room in an already tight salary-cap situation.
Look for the Florida Panthers to try to get out ahead of the free-agent market, the way the Flyers did two summers ago with Kimmo Timonen. They traded for his rights and signed him before he went on the open market.
So the Panthers are expected to try to trade Jay Bouwmeester ahead of the July 1 start of free agency. If they want to do that, they would have to take back salary in return - and for the Flyers, that would mean a big salary. Joffrey Lupul's name is out there and he has a contract that jumps to $4.25 million this coming season. Longtime Flyers winger Simon Gagne is another trade possibility. He has a $5.25 million contract and is not the untouchable Flyer he once was.
General manager Paul Holmgren's stated course of action at the end of the season was to wait and see what the free-agent market brings. It is a good plan. I hope they stick to it and forget about Emery.
Postseason injury report
It's hard to imagine that Mike Richards played all season with torn labrums in both shoulders. There were days when he didn't skate in practice, but those were simply called "maintenance days." I never saw him with an icepack on either shoulder, and he never once said anything that would have indicated he was in pain.
But a torn anything is painful and he played all the way through it.
Jeff Carter's persistence through the final three games of the playoffs is impressive since he was playing with a separated shoulder, but he got help from the pain docs and it couldn't have been that bad since he didn't need surgery.
We're still waiting to hear about Gagne's and Niittymaki's hips. Both are still awaiting examinations.
What a series
Who knows what a second-round playoff between the Flyers and Capitals would have been like, but it's hard to imagine it would have been as entertaining as the one taking place between Pittsburgh and Washington right now.
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have been a show. And so have their teammates. It has been a combination of a streetfight and a skills contest and it will be a shame when it ends with Game 7 tomorrow night in Washington.
What a flop
I know that Carolina isn't getting its due for the way it eliminated the New Jersey Devils and are currently handing the Boston Bruins their lunch. But it's more the Bruins' failure than the Hurricanes' success right now.
Having the Flyers farm team in the same practice facility and playing games in the same city made moving players back and forth between teams an easy task.
Well, Glens Falls, N.Y., is not the other side of the world, but it's far enough away that getting players up and down won't be just a shout down the hall.
Nothing can be done about that now, since the Phantoms are now officially the Adirondack Phantoms. The Phantoms were welcomed into their new digs in the Glens Falls Civic Center last Wednesday.
Glens Falls and the Phantoms have a 3-year deal that includes a 2-year option.
The Phantoms will become the fifth upstate New York AHL franchise, including the Binghamton Senators, Rochester Americans, Syracuse Crunch and the Albany River Rats. *
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