End to End: Emery's injury a cause for concern?

End to End: Emery's injury a cause for concern?
March 9, 2014, 4:00 pm
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In 22 games this season, Ray Emery is 7-9-1 with a 3.03 goals-against average and .898 save percentage. (AP)

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End this week are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Sarah Baicker, CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Tom Dougherty and CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Tim Riday.

The question: Should the Flyers be concerned with Ray Emery?

If, as reported, Ray Emery does indeed have just a groin issue, I am not concerned. Those kinds of injuries can last a few weeks, and if Emery is healthy enough to return by the weekend's home-and-home with Pittsburgh, it's not a big deal.

The Flyers are in the midst of a rather quiet stretch, and if Steve Mason needs a break this week, it wouldn't be the end of the world for Cal Heeter to get the start against New Jersey.

If there is one thing the Flyers should have done at the deadline that they didn’t, it was to acquire a depth goalie. Nashville placed Devan Dubynk on waivers before sending him to Montreal for future considerations. In Carolina, Justin Peters is the third goalie and he didn’t move but probably could have been had at the right price. The Flyers didn’t get either, so that tells you they’re not worried about Ray Emery. But they should be.

I don’t think Craig Berube is comfortable starting Cal Heeter, and he’s the next guy in line. Would he be comfortable starting Steve Mason the rest of the way? I wouldn’t. I think Paul Holmgren dropped the ball in picking up insurance. Dubynk cost virtually nothing and Peters wouldn’t have cost much more. Emery’s injury is enough to be concerned because I just cannot trust Mason to play 18 more games without rest and play well.

Sooner or later, Berube is going to have to play Heeter if Emery’s injury continues to be a problem. The lower-body with goalies is like the right shoulder of a right-handed pitcher. It’s crucial. You got to be concerned.

The Flyers have Ray Emery listed as day to day with a lower-body injury. CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio reported Emery has a groin pull. The good news is an MRI last week ruled out any problems with his right hip or the return of AVN disease that had jeopardized his playing career a few years ago. But a groin pull is still a very difficult injury for goaltenders, especially for one as agile as Emery.

While I don't think it's time to panic, it's still concerning that Emery hasn't been able to practice in over a week. The Flyers have 18 games remaining and are in the thick of playoff push. They don't want to wear out their No. 1 starter, Steve Mason, but seem reluctant to play Phantoms netminder Cal Heeter.

Heeter's had a fantastic season in the AHL and I'd actually like to get a look at the 25-year-old at the NHL level. It's not ideal to start a minor leaguer when virtually every game has playoff implications the rest of the way, but if Emery's injury keeps him sidelined another week or so the Flyers won't have any other choice than to give Heeter a shot.