GRIFFITH | Blackhawks tickets for the Stanley Cup playoffs went for astronomical prices.
Ray Emery can at least say he had one of the best seats in house for the duration, and rather than paying for it, he got paid to sit.
However, the 30-year-old goalie won't be sitting on the Blackhawks bench anymore after signing a $1.65, one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, ending a two-year run in Chicago that was capped with the Stanley Cup-winning season.
In that season, Emery had put together the best year of his well-traveled career. He helped the Blackhawks set a NHL record for consecutive team points to start a season while setting a record himself when he went 12-0-0 out of the gate.
Emery would go on to post a 17-1-0 record with a .922 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average. He became the co-recipient of the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Corey Crawford, an award that goes to the goalie(s) of the team that allowed the fewest goals.
Despite the regular season contributions, Emery remained on the bench through the playoffs.
"But I'm happy the way things turned out," Emery said during an appearance at Bridges' Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar on Wednesday night. "I'm very tight with 'Craw,' and whenever he's in the net, I'm pulling for him and the rest of the team.
"This whole season has been exciting, and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Emery is due to get his "personal day" with the Stanley Cup on July 13.
"I'm going to take it to some of the places I hang out during the summer," said the Cayuga, Ontario, native who still resides in Canada. "I'll be hitting a few of the minor league teams close to where I live."
Nicknamed "Razor" and "Sugar Ray" — the latter moniker in reference to his prowess as a fighter — Emery's career was in jeopardy in 2010 when he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis to his hip region, the same ailment that precipitated the end of Bo Jackson's multisport career.
But after a successful surgery and bone graft, Emery believes he's as strong an agile as ever.
"Fortunately, it doesn't involve any tissue, and the bones in my hip are solid," Emery said. "I was fortunate to have the surgery done before it got worse."
While Emery was signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, most of the large screen televisions at Bridges' were tuned into the NHL Network, whose commentators and analysts were discussing the league's free agent market. Emery's name was frequently repeated, prior to his signing with the Flyers.
But whatever his future holds in Philadelphia and beyond, Emery will likely never forget his time with the Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup championship parade festivities.
"Obviously, where I come from hockey is a big deal," Emery said. "I knew it's a big deal here, too, especially during the playoffs. But I didn't expect to see a million people. That was incredible. I thought maybe a half-million. But a million? I don't think any other team (in the NHL) can draw that many fans for a parade."