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Welcome to Philadelphia, Mr. Emery

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We’ve seen Flyers GM Paul Holmgren think and act outside the box in the past. His sign and trade acquisitions of Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen in late June 2007 serve as prime examples. Now, there is further evidence that the man dubbed “Homer” is taking a calculated risk in re-tooling his team. While hardly a “Ray” of sunshine off the ice, the Flyers announced Wednesday that they will welcome the goalie to wear the orange and black. Speculation is that signing the talented, but oft-misbehaved Emery will allow the Flyers wiggle room to go after a stud defenseman.

The harsh reality is that his new goalie is part hockey player, part boxer. In fact, he has been given the moniker “Sugar Ray” for his boxing prowess and feisty unwillingness to back down from a scrap. He also seems to moonlight as a pest to his teammates and society in general. Multiple arrests and run-ins with teammates and coaches have built quite the reputation for the eccentric, energetic, and seemingly jaded netminder. Ironically, a couple years back he dropped the gloves with current Flyers goalie (perhaps soon-to-be former Flyers goalie) Martin Biron, not to mention the fact that he also exchange blows with Buffalo Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters during the same scuffle.

If Emery is the man Holmgren is looking to supplant Biron as the Flyers hope at a Stanley Cup, it is a somewhat risky and gutsy maneuver. It is a move that will undoubtedly be questioned by fans and media, especially if Emery’s explosive demeanor combusts into another failed experiment a la John Vanbiesbrouck and Jeff Hackett. But one thing is almost certain: Emery will soon become a fan favorite in Philadelphia, with his fiery demeanor and his stick-wielding skills. He seems to fit the mold of past fan favorites Ron Hextall (the city’s pioneer of such cherished lunacy) and Garth Snow. Another certainty is this: if he stops the puck consistently, fans will love him.

Here are a few more things that we Flyers fans will love about our new goaltender:

 

1. He is actually crazier than we are

2. He is not afraid to drop the gloves- with ANYONE

3. He is a very good goaltender when his head is screwed on tightly

Will he be our key to unlocking that magical Stanley Cup run we’ve all waited three and a half decades for? Only time will tell. But, snatching up Mr. Emery nets us (pun intended) a ton of talent at a bargain price. Bolstering the defense corps with the remainder of those cap dollars would be a significant step forward for an already young and talented team.

 Mr. Holmgren, time’s yours….