Wait... Ray Emery?

Wait... Ray Emery?

I think we're all appropriately skeptical of the news that the Flyers have contacted the agent for exiled goalie Ray Emery, who played the last season in Russia's KHL after failing to catch on in the NHL upon being waived from Ottawa. Why were NHL teams unwilling to take a chance on him last season? Oh, just a few reasons...

First, he's got a bit of a temper, and he hasn't shown much willingness or ability to curb it in the past. He's fought teammates, opposing goalies and enforcers, and most recently, he punched a staff member for his Russian club over wearing a sponsor's hat. Emery, or Razor as he's often called, has been linked to some reports of recreational drug use, as well as upwards of 30 traffic violations, including a road rage case involving a retiree. He once had a mask designed with Mike Tyson painted on it, wearing it only once before the team asked him not to (Tyson wasn't just a boxer and video game legend, you see; he was also convicted of rape). Emery is tatted up and has a pet python. He won't stand for any BS near his crease, nor anywhere else, for that matter. Bad. Ass. Wikipedia. Entry.

Sounds like a great fit for the town that still idolizes Ron Hextall, right?

Except that this is the new NHL, where players are suspended based on their past transgressions more so than their current actions, and entire teams are admittedly categorized by the league for the actions of individual players. The Flyers' most significant weakness last season probably wasn't the lack of the elusive crease-clearing defenseman or an elite goalie—it was leading the league in penalties. Fans scratched their heads when the team added the NHL's leading PIM-p, Dan Carcillo, wondering how this would help with reducing the amount of time the Flyers spend down a man.

So what effect would adding Emery have? Certainly it wouldn't be fewer penalties taken by the goaltender position, right? Probably not fewer games missed due to suspension either, and I don't think refs will be overly sensitive to invasions of his personal space. He's fought his own teammates in the past, so it's probably not chemistry... Perhaps it's his skill? His career numbers aren't better than those of Biron, although the two aren't far apart, and we'd have to assume that his banishment should drop his salary demands. And that's probably the biggest factor at the moment, given the troubles the Flyers had with the cap last season. In any case, Biron better hope Homer isn't making his decision based on feats of strength.

Sugar Ray did backstop the Sens to the Cup finals appearance in 2007, a promised land the Flyers haven't seen since I was a junior going to Senior Week in Sea Isle. But despite his abilities on the ice, wary NHL teams stayed away from Emery, and they haven't been beating down his door to come back from Moscow. Will the Flyers allow Biron and Nitty to leave as free agents and take a risk signing the Sean Avery of goaltending? Emery is clearly not a sure #1, something that fans in this town are unhappily accustomed to, but I really wouldn't be surprised. Nor would I be surprised if it turned out to be a great signing... but it's not without some enormous potential for calamity.

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders

The Phillies on Thursday officially announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018. 

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Saunders will make $9 million this season with the Phillies and the club option for 2018 will be worth $11 million with escalators potentially pushing it to $14 million.

Saunders, 30, is the left-handed hitting outfield bat the Phils were seeking. He hit 24 home runs for the Blue Jays last season in his walk year, making the AL All-Star team before slumping in the second half.

Saunders hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in 82 games for the Blue Jays before the All-Star break, then hit .178/.282/.357 with eight homers in 58 games after.

He had a good year against same-handed pitching, hitting .275 with a .927 OPS and eight homers against lefties. 

He'll likely start in right field for the Phillies, with Odubel Herrera in center and Howie Kendrick in left (see Phils' projected lineup).

Saunders can also play first base, which could allow the Phillies to sit Tommy Joseph against a tough right-hander and fill in the outfield.

It was important to Phillies GM Matt Klentak that the player he signed to fill the spot in the outfield was not going to block young outfielders like Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and others.

On a one-year deal, Saunders came relatively cheap to the Phils, lingering in free agency as other hitters found contracts. In the middle of last summer, Saunders seemed poised for a multi-year contract like the four-year, $52 million deal Josh Reddick signed with the Astros. His second half cost him some money.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Saunders, the Phillies designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.