Thursday, November 22, 2007

Emery Needs Playing Time

Even though he’d be going against all logic and popular public opinion, Senators coach John Paddock needs to put Ray Emery in the net for at least the next five games if he’s at all concerned about the future.

A coach’s mandate is to win now and that’s why you see Paddock playing Daniel Alfredsson over 25 minutes a night and riding the hot streak of Martin Gerber.

But he has to remember that the goal is to win in June, not December. Real leaders take risks and aren't afraid to go against prevalent wisdom (which is almost always wrong once everybody starts believing in it).

It’s obvious that Ray Emery is the type of goalie who has trouble coming off the bench. Once he gets in a groove, everything is fine. On the other hand, Martin Gerber showed last season that he is more than capable of sitting for an extended period and then playing well.

If now is not the right time to take a chance and get Emery back into playing shape, when is?
The Sens are firmly in control of the Eastern Conference after a torrid start and have given themselves some wide room for error. Why not put Emery back in the net and let him get the kinks out after off-season surgery? Are the Sens about to fall off the face of the earth if they have a few rough games while Emery works off the rust?

The Senators and their fans are playing a fools game if they think that Martin Gerber is the solution over Ray Emery. Gerber has virtually no playoff experience while Emery has already played in a Stanley Cup final. Gerber is signed for only one more year while Emery is here for four. Gerber is closer to retirement while Emery hasn’t even entered his prime. In virtually every pressure situation in Gerber’s career, he’s come out flat and lost his job. Emery has always risen to the occasion. It’s like he’s hotwired for pressure.

It’s time to stop being so concerned with the short term and start thinking about the real battles that lie ahead.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I gotta say that I agree with a lot of what you said above.

Winning in June is what matters and Emery need more games than 4 in 20. If it's 65/35 in favour of Gerber, so be it, but when the playoffs come around and the Sens need Emery, a good share of the regular season games would help the man be ready.