Duthie: Half Goaltender, Half Zoolander
5/8/2007 3:04:47 PM
I am standing in Ray Emery's closet, trying to figure out which of the dozen or so ridiculously expensive designer sunglasses he has spread meticulously across a shelf, go best with the four thousand dollar suit he is letting me try on.
(For the record, I usually buy my sunglasses at gas stations, and I wouldn't buy a four thousand dollar suit if it came with superpowers, so this is all a little foreign to me.)
It is a Senators off-day several weeks ago, long before Emery became one of THE stories of 2007 playoffs, both for his terrific play on the ice, and his poor alarm clock-management and driving issues off it.
As he gives me a crash-course on his favourite colours and designers, I'm starting to feel like that fashion critic freak Cojo on Entertainment Tonight.
(Editorial Note: Cojo is not to be confused with Cujo. Hmm. I wonder if that's ever happened? You know, some kid asks for an autographed Cujo jersey for Christmas, and his Mom gets confused and he ends up with a pink frilly man-blouse signed "Stay fabulous darling, luv and wet kisses, Cojo". That could scar a kid for life.)
Emery is sick with a cold, and clearly dying to go to bed (he would go on at length about his love for the afternoon nap, which became abundantly clear last week), but he patiently shows off every item in his wild wardrobe.
It features a rainbow of suits, some 50 pairs of shoes (including a pair of blue and yellow runners he calls his "Alfies"), a dozen watches (he should really set the alarm on every one), a club-hopping shirt for every day of the...century, and bling up the ying-ying. (I have no idea what that that last part means, but it is extremely enjoyable to say aloud.)
"I used to live with him and I'd have to sleep on the couch because his clothes took up the entire other room," laughs Jason Spezza.
"He takes about three suitcases for one-game road trip," adds road roommate Mike Comrie. "One time he pulled this zebra blanket out of his suitcase. I didn't even want to ask what that was for."
C'mon Mike. You were in the desert too long. Who doesn't accessorize with a zebra blanket these days? Brown is the new black, and zebra blanket is the new...uhh...scarf? Sweater? Gonch?
Emery does not know, nor care, whether his duds are cutting edge fashion. He will tell me over and over that day that he just wants "to be different".
His game day arena arrivals have become the stuff of Sens legend. From the baby blue suit and matching shoes ("Right out of the seventies" - Chris Kelly), to the thick black and white pinstriped number ("My personal favourite...the Jailbird" - Wade Redden), which sometimes comes with a top hat.
The Razor's outlandish attire, and bad-boy behaviour makes some (including on occasion, teammates), roll their eyes and shakes their heads.
But perhaps, right here right now, he is exactly the personality the Senators need.
This team has always seemed too serious, too conservative. Their fragile confidence was written on their faces after a loss, and often, before one.
When Ray Emery struts into the building in a wild purple suit, wearing that Cheshire cat grin, it is so un-Ottawa like, so un-Senator like, you cannot help but think things have changed.
He is one different dude. This was the first hockey player interview I've done which had to be interrupted to feed a pet python a live mouse.
I thought of that moment the other night watching the Senators dust off the Devils like a piece of lint on one of Emery's suits.
These Senators are looking more and more like the snake. And less and less like the mouse.
James duthie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
To see the TV version of this story, click here. The original Ray Emery song was written and produced by TSN's Lester McLean. You can listen to the entire song here. The lyrics are listed below.
(Ray Emery's Theme)
Backstopper for the Sens
Looking sharp they call me the Razor
I'm G.Q. like Mercedes Benz
Only been in the league for a little while
But I've made my mark with my sense style
I showed 'em this season what was up
And now we're chasing the cup
Ya'll know that you're feeling me
Ya'll know that you like what you see
Looking crisp on and off of the ice is my fate
11 out of 10 is how I rate
I'm a Fashion Plate (Ya'll know that I'm money)
I'm a Fashion Plate (Rico Sauve ain't got nothing on me)
I'm a Fashion Plate (I'm too sexy for myself)
I'm a Fashion Plate (I'm a fashion plate)
Let me break it down for ya'll, I ain't playin'
Snatching ladies hearts like a pucks in my glove
Look as fine in a suit as I do in my jersey
And by the way I wear number one
If you have to ask ya that's Chuvalo on my mask
I'm down with the science of looking sweet
But you best keep the peace and stay out my crease
My tendin's tight but I like a fight.