How else can a team with the likes of Wade Redden, Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, Andrej Meszaros, Jason Spezza, and a bunch of other talented players completely collapse after starting the season 15-2?
There has been a lot of speculation about the nighttime exploits of certain players, as they prefer to party and booze it up rather than worry about their hockey job.
The #1 culprit, as everyone knows, appears to be Sugar Ray Emery, the guy who showed up late for practices, loves to get into fights, and is far too immature to be counted on as a #1 goaltender.
It's no small wonder, then, why the Sens want to get rid of the cancer, and get rid of Emery ASAP.
Ray Emery wore out his welcome as an Ottawa Senator because of his unprofessional approach to being a professional athlete, arriving late for practices and not working hard enough.
He also tested the patience of the team when stories reached general manager and coach Bryan Murray of Emery's partying in various Ottawa nightspots.
Friday, Murray said enough was enough. After talking to the 25-year-old goalie on Thursday, Murray put the For Sale sign on Emery, and will now try to trade him. If Murray can't trade Emery, then he'll have to decide whether to buy out the remaining two years of his contract.
"My plan is not to have him back," said Murray.
A buy-out may be the only option, because I just can't see anyone taking on Emery and his expensive contract right now.
It certainly is an easy operation to perform, given how few Sens fans will miss Emery and his partying ways. Combine that with his god-awful 89.0% save percentage, and it's not like fans will be creating a "Keep Emery" Facebook group.
Emery's decline mirrors the Sens decline hand-in-hand. After being the darling of the NHL with a 91.8SV% last season, and saving the Sens from the erratic goaltending of Martin Gerber, Emery signed a lucrative $2.75mil/year contract extension. This season? Emery went downhill, started acting like an enfant terrible, and the Sens started sucking.
To Emery's credit, he's not the only Senator who has been rumored to enjoy the nightclubs. Andrej Meszaros, for one, has been noted for being a man of the night, and he's not the only one.
That said, Emery is obviously a bad influence on certain teammates, and the easiest scapegoat for management to deal with. Get rid of Emery, and you can begin the heal the culture in the dressing room.
Now, as I mentioned, I don't expect any team to want to trade for Emery at his current salary. Even though Emery is just 26, and oozing with natural ability, he's definitely got a reputation as a dressing room cancer and team destabilizer. Hockey clubs are built on chemistry and cohesiveness, and Emery's effect on his club seems to outweigh any benefit he might bring. Sure, a team can live with some antics (see Sean Avery or Patrick Roy), but not complete implosion.
It'll be interesting to see if any NHL club brings Emery in to play a backup role, and perhaps get his life together.
If I am an NHL GM, and my team needs goaltending help, I'd stay the hell away from the guy. Yes, Emery has talent, but I doubt he's learned his lesson and is a changed man. Perhaps some time in the minors, or over in Europe, can wake him up to the fact that he needs to dedicate himself more to his craft if he wants to be a successful #1 goaltender in the NHL.