Slumping Flyers lose injured G Emery for 6 weeks

Flyers goalie Ray Emery will undergo surgery Wednesday to repair

a torn muscle in his lower abdomen, and is expected to miss about

six weeks.

Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren made the announcement

Tuesday night before the Flyers played the New York Islanders.

The Flyers, who lost five straight and eight of nine, recalled

goalie Johan Backlund from the Adirondack Phantoms, but will rely

heavily on Brian Boucher.

Emery hadn’t been playing well, and was pulled from Saturday’s

game against the Washington Capitals after allowing five goals.

“I felt something a while ago and didn’t realize what it was at

first,” he said. “Normally, I heal pretty quick. I thought it was

in my head and I could battle through. But I wasn’t able to

contribute, and when you can’t you have to get it fixed.”

Holmgren said the injury played a part in Emery’s slump.

“You know how hard he practices,” Holmgren said. “He’s been

trying to fight through this, but couldn’t practice the way he

normally does, and his game suffered. He’s a down young man, and

feels he let his team down.”

Emery also said that his play was affected.

“Quite a bit,” he said. “I didn’t go in there feeling like I

wasn’t capable of playing solid for the team. It was just at the

point where it wasn’t happening.”

The Flyers were aware of the injury since November, Holmgren

said, and tried rehabilitation and cortisone injections. However,

Emery’s condition deteriorated to the point where surgery became

the only option.

“It has gotten progressively worse,” Holmgren said. “The

tests and the MRI we’ve done showed a tear in his abdominal

wall.”

Emery, 27, is 11-8-1 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .901

save percentage, including one shutout, in 21 appearances this

season – his first with Philadelphia. Flyers forward Simon Gagne

underwent a similar procedure last month.

“I want to help my team,” Emery said. “If they wanted me in

there, I wanted to be in there. You hope you’ll wake up the next

day feeling better. I got a couple shots and took a week off. It

just wasn’t working.”

The slumping Flyers have fallen into last place in the Atlantic

Division, which led to the firing of coach John Stevens last week

and the hiring of Peter Laviolette.

“It’s no fun being around here right now, for any of us,”

Holmgren said. “The players certainly want to get out of this

sooner rather than later. The one good thing about our sport,

especially now, is that we have games every other day, so there’s

always something (to work through).”