|Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery, right, chats with his friend, Paul Schonfelder, after an optional skate today. Schonfelder took over Emery's goaltending duties during the skate.|
by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery was in the stands during an optional skate today at Scotiabank Place watching intently as his good friend and roommate, Paul Schonfelder, tried his best to turn away shots from a group of 11 Senators players.
Earlier in the morning, after learning the practice was an optional, Emery called Schonfelder, with whom he is planning to start a goaltenders hockey camp in Ottawa, and his friend was glad to fill in on the ice.
"I'm a little tired. I haven't been on the ice in four months," said Schonfelder afterwards. "Ray called me up to see if I wanted to skate with the team. You don't turn this down."
Emery was impressed with Schonfelder's performance.
"He looked pretty good out there. He was pretty excited to skate with the boys. It was fun for me to come watch and make sure he doesn't take my job."
The rest was a deserved break for Emery.
Later in the day the sophomore was named the NHL's first star of the week for the period ending on Dec. 31, 2006. Emery won three games during that stretch, posting a 0.66 goals-against average, a .977 save percentage and two shutouts.
Schonfelder, who works out with Emery during the summer, wasn't surprised to see his friend play so well.
"He's been unbelievable and real consistent," Schonfelder said. "I'm not surprised. He's a great athlete. He's a big guy and he's become faster, especially side to side."
Emery's quickness was evident in the victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. During the game, Emery made a miraculous save with his stick while diving across the open net to rob Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle. While that type of save makes highlight reels, Emery prefers more comfortable positions when turning away shots.
"I used to make a lot of saves like that, but then you let in a weak one," Emery says. "I've worked on being more patient and staying together more."
During the last two off-seasons, Emery has worked with Eli Wilson, an instructor with World Pro Goaltending based out of Calgary. Wilson has helped Emery get in the best positions to make saves.
"I get taught after every season," Emery says. "(Wilson) has really helped me moving side to side and becoming more solid and in the right position. Last summer I spent a full month with him. He's been really good."