It all goes back to last summer. Did Murray ultimately agree to terms with Emery against his (and certain team leader's) better judgement? Was his attempted return to the lineup really that much of an inflection point in the season?
We know that both parties were headed to arbitration "with plenty of work to be done" until a Emery agreed to a last minute deal - practically on his way to the bargaining table. Were Eugene and Bryan expecting a DiPietro-like award would give them their out?
By October 16th, the Sens were 6-1 to start the new season when Emery returns from surgery expecting to take over where he left off.
In mid November, Allen Panzeri's sub-head is already telling: "The goalie who has taken back the Senators' No. 1 job was back on the ice for an optional skate, but Ray Emery was nowhere to be found" (Gerber was 12-1-0 at the time).
December 1st is the "one-shot-shutout" where Ray decides his hip is tweaked and bails five minutes into the first. More perceptive observers recognize it as an unprofessional slight to the team, however, as the Sens have rolled the Canes handily, it's not a big deal to most fans.
By late January and early February, we're already well into disciplinary fines, run-ins with the OPD and "win-and-you're in".
I found the immediate dumping of every Ottawa ill onto the shoulders of Ray Emery a little opportunistic. Granted, I've never played organized sports beyond mosquito baseball and road hockey so how and why a sour teammate can affect individual performances so drastically is beyond my ken (their backup goalie's a piss-pot, so suddenly Spezza and Heatley can't put anything past Marc-Andre Fleury?!). But the trend is pretty clearly there.
[link timeline via Rotoworld]