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Jan. 24, 2011

by Ted Kulfan - The Detroit News

Cory Emmerton will never forget his first game in the NHL.

Saturday's debut was impressive with Emmerton scoring the lone goal in the Red Wings' 4-1 loss to Chicago.

But more memorable might have been him getting to Detroit.

Emmerton was getting ready to take part in the morning skate in Grand Rapids, preparing for the Griffins' game that evening.

Then he got word from Griffins coach Curt Fraser that the Wings were calling up Emmerton because Valtteri Filppula was battling flu-like symptoms.

"It's been a whirlwind day," Emmerton said. "It would have been nice to have been in a win. I'm just happy to get the experience."

A little after 9:30 a.m., he got on I-96 and drove to Joe Louis Arena. The Wings' game was scheduled for 2 p.m.

Emmerton knew he didn't have much time to waste.

"I had a couple of hours to get my suit on and get here," Emmerton said. "I didn't have a lot of time, but in the end, that may have been best for me."

As in not much time to get nervous, not much time to worry about calling family and friends and not much time to wonder who he'd be on the ice with.

Emmerton arrived at Joe Louis Arena around noon.

"A little later than I'd like, but enough time to get ready," said Emmerton, who was able to have his father and several relatives at the game, given they were either visiting him in Grand Rapids or on their way to watch him play in Grand Rapids.

When he arrived, though, Emmerton had one need.

"Thankfully the guys here found some food for me. I didn't have anything before," he said.

Emmerton played 9 minutes, 5 seconds, was credited with three shots on net, and was plus-1. Coach Mike Babcock said after the game Emmerton would stay through Wednesday's game against New Jersey. Tomas Tatar, meanwhile, is headed back to Grand Rapids.

"I like Emmerton," said Babcock, who noticed the young player during the exhibition season. "Emmerton's smart, he can make plays, and he knows to play without the puck."

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