I have been following the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs this year, cheering for my local team, the Ottawa Senators. They eliminated Sidney "The Kid" Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 5 games. Then, they went on to beat Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in 5 games. The Sens are now in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1927. This team has gone through a lot of growing pains over the last decade. This year, they finally seem to be a mature team that has a real chance at lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads in the end.

Last year, Ray Emery was the back up goalie to Domick Hasek. Hasek got injured late into the regular season, and no one was sure of how this rookie backup goalie was going to do. Everyone had hung their hopes of winning the cup on Hasek. I was personally impressed with how well Emery did, given how few games he played in during the regular season.

When the playoffs ended last year, and Hasek was given his walking papers due to his string of injuries and questionable recovery, I was telling friends that Emery should be made the #1 goalie for the Senators. When they signed Martin Gerber for something like $4 million per year to be the new #1 goalie, I felt that they should have made Emery the new #1, and give him a raise, and hire a new #2 goalie. Somewhere during the regular season, Gerber was replaced by Emery as the #1 goalie, and things improved dramatically.

Now, in the playoffs, with 2 playoff shutouts under his belt, I feel vindicated in my faith in "Sugar" Ray Emery. He is as good as I felt in my gut that he could be. And for the record, I don’t feel he has reached his maximum potential yet. The best is yet to come from the young goaltender from Cayuga, Ontario. This is a goalie to keep your eye on in the years to come. He will doubtlessly be the next Hasek or Brodeur. And given some of the fantastic saves he has made so far in this playoff season against such good shooters as Sidney Crosby and Scott Gomez, I think that is a safe bet.

All I have to say now is:

Go Sens Go!!

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