There's an insightful article in today's Toronto Star about the KHL, Ray Emery and some of the bizarre circumstances that North Americans find themselves in over there:
"In a holdover from Soviet times, Emery and his teammates must stay on a "base" near their arena the nights before a game. The menu, said Emery's Finnish teammate Esa Pirnes, who played in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, hasn't changed in four months.
"I saw Esa put ketchup on his spaghetti and I wondered what he was doing," Emery said. "But they don't put sauce on it and it's impossible to find. It's just plain spaghetti. Now I'm reaching for the ketchup."
There have been other adjustments, like getting used to squads of cheerleaders dancing on platforms right behind his net in some buildings. "You kind of look up and they're right there at ice level."
Ketchup on spaghetti? Dude..... Forget the shoddy medical treatment. That might be the biggest deterrent right there.
Emery's quotes from the rest of the article indicate that he's really beginning to put last season behind him and is showing a level of maturity that was lacking in the past. If he's willing to plow ketchup spaghetti to get his career back on track, that shows some dedication to the game.
Expect "Rayzer", who has put up All-Star numbers in Russia, to make a winning return to the NHL, if not next year, then the next when his contract is expired.
And you know where he might fit? How about Detroit? With Chris Osgood starting to fade and Jimmy Howard on a seemingly eternal learning curve, Emery might be a cheap and ingenious addition to a team that is going to contend for some time. There is no denying his skill and athletic ability and if his head is screwed on straight, he's a top ten goalie in the NHL. That would also give Detroit time to nurture their top 2008 draft pick, goalie Thomas McCollum.
Detroit is pretty decent at reclamation projects. Joey Kocur, Darren McCarty, Daniel Cleary and even Chris Osgood all got second chances with Detroit and all contributed to at least one Stanley Cup championship.
People will laugh at the suggestion, but remember - you heard it here first.