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.

Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

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Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

TORONTO -- Justin Morrow scored in the 70th minute and Toronto FC salvaged a point with a 1-1 draw with the Union on Saturday night.

Morrow made a run from his left back position, and midfielder Jonathan Osorio laid the ball off to Morrow for a tight-angle shot. Toronto (13-8-9) had its second straight home tie,

Alejandro Bedoya scored for Philadelphia (11-11-9) in the 25th minute. Bedoya took a pass from Fabian Herbers with his back to the Toronto goal, quickly spun past the Toronto back line and chipped a shot that looped over goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

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Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

BOX SCORE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- De'Veon Smith led an overwhelming ground game with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown and Karan Higdon ran for two scores and No. 4 Michigan routed Penn State 49-10 on Saturday in both teams' Big Ten opener.

The Wolverines scored six touchdowns on the ground as they finished with 326 yards rushing. Wilton Speight threw one touchdown pass.

Michigan (4-0) dominated both sides of the ball. Penn State (2-2) has lost three straight to the Wolverines.

Jabrill Peppers gave the fans an early thrill by returning Penn State's first punt to the 9, although a bench-interference penalty moved the ball to the Nittany Lions 24. Seven plays later, Khalid Hill dove in on 4th-and-goal from the 1.

The Wolverines also scored touchdowns on their next two drives. Penn State finally got a couple stops, but the Wolverines took a 28-0 halftime lead on Higdon's 2-yard run.

The Nittany Lions got on the board with a field goal early in the third, but Chris Evans made it 35-3 with a 3-yard run and the Wolverines cruised to the win.

The takeaway
Penn State: The Nittany Lions came into the Big House without any of their starting linebackers then lost Brandon Smith to a second-quarter targeting penalty. That left the Penn State defense helpless against Michigan's running game and short passes. The offense was even worse, putting up 50 yards in the first half. Saquon Barkley had 19 yards rushing and caught two passes for 47 yards, but the rest of the team combined for minus-16.

Michigan: The Wolverines dominated in the trenches, with their defensive line continuously overrunning Penn State's offensive line. They registered five sacks while building their first-half lead and Speight had all the time he needed.

Poll implications
Michigan: The Wolverines came in at No. 4 and there seems little chance that will change much with No. 1 Alabama winning earlier in the day in a blowout and No. 2 Ohio State on a bye.

Up next
Penn State: Returns to Happy Valley for the first of three straight home games. The Nittany Lions face Minnesota next Saturday in the Golden Gophers' first trip to Penn State since 2009.

Michigan: Plays its fifth-straight game at the Big House to open the season, but will have a tougher test against Wisconsin. The 11th-ranked Badgers routed No. 8 Michigan State 30-6 in East Lansing.