The day after the Ottawa Senators were swept out of the NHL playoffs, goalie Ray Emery expressed regrets and hinted his days in the home team's locker-room at Scotiabank Place could be numbered.
Emery has taken the brunt of criticism for the Senators' perceived chemistry issues this season, and it has been speculated that general manager Bryan Murray will buy out the remainder of Emery's contract, which is worth a total of $6.75 million US over the next two years.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen, that's the team's decision," said Emery. "I'd like to stay here, I like the guys on the team. I know it's been a negative situation for most of this year … not that that can't turn around real quick with wins and good play."
The goaltender did express regret for some of his behaviour, such as showing up late for practice twice this season, but he refused to believe that he was a distraction to his teammates.
"I don't think I was a model citizen but in no way did I not encourage my teammates or take away from what they were trying to do," said Emery. "Other than those stories, which if I could take them back I would, maybe they were distracting, but these are professional guys playing through a lot and I don't think a newspaper story is going to hurt his play.
"I probably got in more trouble last year, but when you're winning, everybody is still on your side."
Emery also rejected the notion that he was the sole reason for an Ottawa season that went horribly off the rails in the second half of the season, ending with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Distances himself from post-season woes
"I don't take responsibility for the team losing in the playoffs, I'll tell you that much," Emery told media in the Senators' dressing room.
Coming off a brilliant run to last year's Stanley Cup final, Emery cited a loss in playing time to Martin Gerber this season as a source of his frustration.
"I wasn't playing as much as I wanted to," said Emery. "They were kind of coming to me, upset with me, and I was pissed off. I thought, you take a team to the finals, you're the guy until you play bad enough not to be that guy. And I shouldn't have treated it that way. I've worked for everything I got and I should have just worked to get back there.
"I didn't. I approached it the wrong way and it just snowballed. They got mad at me, and I was playing once every two weeks and I really can't play that way. I was just like a time bomb."
Emery also knew his actions frustrated Murray.
"He fired the coach and he would have fired me if he could have," said Emery.