Born September 28, 1982 (age 29) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks
Ray was third star of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, so let’s talk about him! He grew up in Cayuga, Ontario, where he played golf, baseball and soccer in school besides hockey. When it came to hockey, he had started playing defense but went to goaltending then there was a goalie shortage. He decided to stick to hockey on his mom’s advice, and he finally joined the OJHL’s Dunnville Terriers after failing to be accepted to eight other teams. Even though he only won three games, they named him rookie of the year! From there, he was picked by the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1999, and his second year with them saw him get into four on-ice fights! He was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2001, and he joined their AHL team in Binghamton after one more season in the OHL. That’s when he got a reputation for being…maybe troublemaker is too harsh. He was suspended twice in his first season there for on-ice incidents, and it happened again the next season. After the Year That Never Was, he joined the Sens in Ottawa.
He began the 2005-06 season strong, winning nine games in a row. By 2006, after Dominik Hasek was injured in the Winter Olympics, he was starting goalie and led the Sens to the playoffs. The next year saw him become starting goalie for the entire season, and the Sens made it to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to Anaheim. But then came a wrist injury that limited him in the 2007-08 preseason, followed by absences from practice that the coaching staff couldn’t overlook. He was waived from the team and became a free agent in 2008.
So what did he do? He went to Russia, where he signed with Atlant Moscow for a year. He split goaltending duty, but after he had a fight with an assistant coach during a game, he didn’t come back right away when the team regrouped after their mid-season break. He did eventually come back to play even though his contract had been devalued when the Russian ruble tanked (ouch!). When he returned to the States, he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for a year, even putting real and fictional boxers (Bernard Hopkins, Joe Frazier and Rocky Balboa) on his mask.
The worst time in his life was about to hit him. When he went on IR to have surgery for a torn abdominal muscle, he found he had avascular necrosis. I talked about his painful comeback a few months ago, and for his comeback (and the fact that he’s still missing 13 cm of bone in his right leg), he was nominated for the Masterson Trophy this year.
The Blackhawks are hopeful that he can provide the mentoring that Corey Crawford would need. He’s only started twice so far this season, but if the game against the Jackets is any indication, the guy with the orange Lamborghini is gonna be what they need to make another successful Cup run.