Looking back at the career of Ray ‘Razor’ Emery and what he will always mean to the Flyers

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Early Sunday afternoon, reports surfaced of a body found in Lake Ontario. That body belonged to former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery.

Hamilton, Ontario police reported Emery was swimming with some friends, went under the water, and never came back up.

Emery had led an interesting career, to say the least. From his days as an Ottawa Senator, where he was young, talented, but let it get to his head, to his days as a Flyer, helping the orange and black on their way to a Stanley Cup Final berth. He was pegged as the franchise netminder in Ottawa, being the only goaltender to lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals. He finally won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, and returned to the Flyers the very next year.

Ray Emery spent three seasons with the Flyers, but had a lasting impact on the franchise.

Emery played a part, as did many Flyers, in the Snider Youth Hockey program, a program that late team owner Ed Snider started to help get Philadelphia kids to play hockey, and keep them off the streets. Seeing where Emery came from as a rookie in the NHL, bold, brash, some would even say cocky, he had lessons aplenty to teach, and did so through the Snider Youth Hockey program.

Emery also left quite the impression on many teammates, owners, and coaches alike.

Emery meant a lot to a lot of people, but how will he be remembered as a Philadelphia Flyer? Emery spent three years backstopping the Flyers, but the most notable season was the 2009-10 season, where he started the Flyers road to the Stanley Cup finals. Emery started 29 games that year for the orange and black, going 16-11-1 with a .905 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average. His numbers weren’t stellar, but he amassed 33 points for the Flyers, more than enough to help them sneak into the playoffs on the last day of the season, and go on an incredible run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Emery also left a lasting impression on Bill Meltzer, Flyers.NHL.com contributor and hockeybuzz.com blogger.

Ray’s biggest accomplishment was the injury he overcame after the 2009-10 season. Emery was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in his right hip. Avascular necrosis is where a portion of your bone dies from the lack of blood flow. In Emery’s case, the ball at the top of his right hip had deteriorated completely, leaving many to suspect that Emery may never see the ice again, or even walk without a limp for the rest of his life.

Against all odds, Emery returned, heading for a stint with the Syracuse Crunch, then getting the call up to the Anaheim Ducks. Emery came back roaring, going 7-2-0 for Anaheim, and earning himself a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks the very next season. Two years later, and Ray Emery was a Stanley Cup champion, and a William M. Jennings award winner alongside Corey Crawford. The man who wasn’t supposed to ever play hockey again, came back and won it’s most cherished prize.

Emery came back to Philadelphia after his two year stint in Chicago, backing up Steve Mason for the majority of his stay. Emery posted below average numbers, losing more games than winning, but one thing will always stick out in the minds of all Flyers fans.

It was November 2nd, 2013. The Flyers were home, playing the Washington Capitals. It was late in the game, and the Caps were hammering the Flyers 7-0. The whistle blew, and the shenanigans ensued. Tom Wilson, Wayne Simmonds, the usual suspects locking up and duking it out.

Out skates “Razor” Ray Emery.

Allegedly provoked by Holtby pointing at the scoreboard, indicating the touchdown lead Washington had on Philadelphia, Emery told him they were going. Holtby refused, but Emery looked at him and said “Protect yourself then.”

What ensued was one of the worst one-sided beatdowns that many fans had ever witnessed, dating back to the Dave Schultz days. Holtby stood no chance, as Emery just pounded away, doing what he was asked for his team. Ray Emery was the ultimate team player. He came to bat for his teammates, and made that abundantly clear with every fist he threw Holtby’s way that November night.

Every team has a guy or two that you could classify as a “character” guy, someone who fits the bill of the team they play for. The Flyers are, and will always be the Broad Street Bullies, and Ray Emery was one bad bully. His career started out rocky, as we all know, but he ended up being able to put all his conflicts behind him, and lead a decently successful career.

Will Ray Emery be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game? Most likely no. However, there won’t be a single conversation had about players who personified the team they played for without mentioning Ray Emery. Emery was toughness, he was grit. He was a Broad Street Bully to his core, and Flyers fans, along with myself, will always have a soft spot for Razor.

So wherever you are, whatever you are doing, raise a glass, say a prayer, beat up the nearest guy named Braden or Holtby. Remember the man that  devoted his life to this sport, and had a damn good time doing so. Remember Razor. Remember Ray Emery.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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