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Ray Emery continues to pursue comeback


James O’Brien

He is far from a perfect person, but it’s hard not to root for former Philadelphia Flyers/Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery.

After all, the eccentric netminder has gone through a lot the last few years. He went from being known as a bug-eating weirdo who occasionally put together brilliant stretches of hockey to a guy who helped the Senators make it to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007 only to find himself jettisoned to the KHL for the 2008-09 season. It seemed like he might find a temporary home in Philadelphia last season until a devastating hip injury put the 28-year-old goalie’s career in jeopardy.

Yet much like the cockroach he once allegedly consumed to win a bet with Daniel Alfredsson, Emery is a fighter. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that Emery is working with former Toronto Maple Leafs trainer Matt Nichol to try to get back into the NHL.

“He’s having vigorous, intense workouts every day,” said his agent, J.P. Barry. “He’s feeling good, but we aren’t at the stage where he’s ready to come back yet.”

Nichol, a former Maple Leafs trainer, hasn’t set a timetable for Emery’s comeback. The first step is to get him skating with a team again, which means he’ll likely work out with an OHL franchise in the coming weeks.

From there, Emery is going to have to go to the AHL on a 25-game professional tryout agreement to show that he is fully recovered and is still capable of playing at the NHL level.

“(Nichol) is being very cautious,” said Barry. “But Ray is working very hard and he’s determined to come back.”

Count me among the people who would love to see the quirky goalie in an NHL net again someday, although there aren’t exactly a ton of open spots in the league these days.