Neither Ray Emery (left) nor Steve Mason considered training camp a competition of the Flyers' starting goalie position. (USA Today Images)
Updated: Wednesday, 11 a.m.
While Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has been a little more open this fall in discussing his club, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: announcing his goalie.
He’s never done that until gameday, and he’s sticking to that strategy for Wednesday’s season opener against Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers did finally announce tonight's starting goalie this morning -- it's Steve Mason (see story).
Even so, given neither Ray Emery nor Mason looked particularly dominant in training camp while things were often chaotic in front of them, the bet here was that the 31-year-old Emery, who was an integral part of Chicago’s winning a Stanley Cup last June, would get the nod.
“Our goalies are working hard every day, they looked good in practice, they played well in games, you’re going to see a lot of both goaltenders,” Laviolette said. “We plan on utilizing them and it will be advantageous to keep our goalies fresh and we have that luxury.”
Laviolette would not say exactly how he intends to split the goalie workload this season.
“I don’t have a direct road map. I think we know what we want do and I think there are always things that play into it,” he said.
Neither Mason nor Emery said they saw the camp as a “competition” for the starter’s job.
“Everybody wants to put that spin on it, but Razor (Emery) and myself, our job is to provide real solid goaltending for this season and pushing each other in practice to be better,” Mason said. “I’m not out there trying to battle Ray or anything like that. I’m just trying to get better in my individual way. If he’s pushing me out there, that’s a good thing.”
Mason said the two goalies haven’t been advised of what kind of rotation to expect but they have had advance notice on starts.
The defense was rather poor in front of them through much of the preseason games.
“That’s what preseason is all about,” Mason said. “Getting the kinks out. I’d rather get them out in preseason when the games don’t technically matter. … The real season starts tomorrow and we’ve had some real solid practices in the last couple of days. Now that we have our group here, we can start to focus on things that matter.”
Emery says he’s ready to go.
“I’m excited about the season starting,” he said. “As a team we grew together, we got a system in place. I feel good. You want to get better throughout the season, but I’m comfortable to start the season now.”
Emery called it a “tandem.”
“We’re excited to work together,” he said. “We both want to get in the net but we both want each other to do well. However that sorts itself out, we’re fine as long as the team has success.”
Both goalies said they wouldn’t be too upset if they didn’t get the first start because it’s just one game.
You expect to start, Ray?
“I expect Lavy to let you know who is starting when he’s ready,” Emery said.