Seems like the response from NHL GM’s to J.P. Barry, Ray Emery’s agent, was a resounding “no thank you” so Emery is headed to the wild wild west that is Russia’s Continental Hockey League. In my opinion it may have been the smartest move Emery could have made at this point in his career.
Forget for a moment the combination of a tax-free salary plus the buy-out money from the Senators will actually earn Emery more than he would have made in the NHL; his image needs rehabilitation that money can’t buy. Emery is was one of the best young goalies in the NHL but clearly he was viewed as damaged goods and bad for team unity. Whether these labels were accurate or not (Ottawa is the spin capital of Canada) doesn’t really matter, Emery should now be following the old expression “out of sight is out of mind”.
The best thing he can do is get his game back together (writers who say he needs to get his life back together are making a leap of opinion) and stay out of the headlines… or at least headlines that aren’t written in Cyrillic. One good season in with Atlant Mytishchi (just outside Moscow) without any news about missing practice or fighting with teammates and Barry’s phone will start to ring again. But this time he’ll recognize the area code as one from an NHL city.
Not only will Emery face shots from Jaromir Jagr in Russia he’ll also be able to look down the ice to see fellow former NHL goale Wade Dubielewicz tending goal for AK Kazan (sister city to College Station TX, home of Texas A&M University… Wikipedia is awesome). Dubliewicz’s agent called it “one of those opportunities where it seemed like my client couldn’t refuse it”. Interpretation: more money, tax-free, and he doesn’t have to watch Rick DiPietro from the Islanders’ bench. Good on Dubie… he’s worked hard for the Islanders while toiling in the minors and knew his role on Long Island would never develop beyond that of “DiPietro’s backup”. Take the rubles and run.