Ray Emery rarely finds the spotlight uncomfortable.
Some might suggest he thrives upon it.
But the Ottawa Senators goaltender admitted Saturday morning he’d rather not be the centre of attention on this day. That he’d prefer his absence from team practice the day before hadn’t erupted into such a focal point of discussion for the media masses in the past 24 hours.
“The team’s in first place in the conference,” Emery said after Saturday’s pre-game skate before Saturday night’s matchup with the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). “I don’t want to be a distraction, which is what’s happening right now … That’s the thing I feel badly for as far as they’re concerned, because I’m being a distraction and the team’s playing really well.
“I care about the guys on this team and I don’t want to take away from them.”
Emery, who’ll back up Martin Gerber against the Capitals, has been struggling to regain the form he showed in backstopping the Senators to the Stanley Cup final last season.
Off-season wrist surgery wiped out most of his training camp and just when he was starting to get on a roll in early December, a hip problem set Emery back again.
Gerber, meanwhile, has started seven of the last eight games, and seems to be back in the groove he’s displayed for much of this season. While Emery said perhaps his lack of playing time “is just starting to get frustrating (for me) now,” he knows it’s on him to turn it around.
“(I’ve got) no one to blame but myself for the situation I’m in … I’m not happy with it,” he said. “But it’s one thing to say that you want to change things and another to get motivated (to do it). I don’t know why it’s like that now, but it’s got to change.
“In the past, I could motivate myself and figure out what works and what doesn’t. That’s what I’ve got to do right now.”
Though Gerber is seeing the bulk of the playing time, Emery made it clear that he wants to stay in a Senators uniform.
“I like playing with the guys here,” he said. “I like the chances the team has this year.”
Meanwhile, the Senators got a piece of good news Saturday morning when defenceman Joe Corvo took part in the pre-game skate and declared himself fit to face the Caps. He’d missed the past three games with a groin strain.
Fellow blueliner Anton Volchenkov, who’s been sidelined with a broken finger, also took part in the workout. Head coach John Paddock suggested the big Russian defenceman might be ready for game action by next weekend. He added winger Patrick Eaves (separated shoulder) is also progressing well, but had no timetable yet for his return.
The rash of recent injuries has provided a bit of a test for the organization’s depth. But Paddock was pleased with the work of defenceman Lawrence Nycholat, who was called up from the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators to fill the void caused by Corvo’s absence.
“He showed he could come up in this kind of a pinch and provide eight or 10 minutes for us that we know we’re not getting hurt out there,” said Paddock.
Forward Cody Bass, who saw six games of action on his callup before being demoted on Friday for personal reasons, showed a feisty side that impressed the Senators’ coaching staff. He recorded his first National Hockey League point (an assist) in Thursday’s 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
“He provided something that we liked,” said Paddock. “We’re sure not going to be afraid to call him back up if the situation arises.”Sweden's rally stuns Canada
Canada's record 20-game winning streak at the world junior hockey championship is over.
Tobias Forsberg's goal with seven seconds remaining capped a shocking third-period rally as Sweden upended Canada 4-3 on Saturday at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
With a 2-0 lead early in the third, Canada seemed on its way to a third straight shutout to open the tournament. But the Swedes scored a flurry of three goals in a 3:55 span to take a 3-2 lead.
Claude Giroux of the Gatineau Olympiques pulled Canada back even at 3-3 on a power-play goal with 3:42 remaining.
Brad Marchand and Shawn Matthias also scored for Canada, which closes out round-robin play against winless Denmark on Monday (noon, TSN).
Read more about the game here