No Further Punishment for Emery
Pretty much everyone is aware of the utter dumpster fire that was Philadelphia’s 7-0 loss to Washington last night.
From the second period meltdown, in which the Capitals scored 5 goals, to the 3rd period line brawl (not to mention an earlier fight between Steve Downie and Aaron Volpatti, resulting in a broken orbital bone for the new Flyers acquisition) – it was a game the Philly faithful would rather forget in a hurry.
Sadly the ugliest part of it all was not the Flyers defence, nor Vincent Lecavalier’s face after tangling with Steve Olesky. No, it was goaltender Ray Emery’s mugging of counterpart Braden Holtby.
Staggeringly, Emery will face no further punishment for the incident.
The former Ottawa puck stopper relieved Steve Mason in the 2nd, but faired little better as the Capitals ran riot, but the third period brawl presented Emery and his team mates with ample opportunity to ‘let off some steam’…
Holtby on the other hand clearly wanted no part of it. He was happily on his way to his eighth career shut out when (“as the video shows”…) Emery skated the length of the ice to ‘engage’ him.
What ensued was ugly. Emery is tough by any standards, we all know this. Holtby on the other hand was (understandably) uninterested in any kind of throw down; but received a hail of blows, including to the back of the head and whilst he was down on the ice.
As if the idea of a line brawl is not embarrassing enough for the NHL in the face of increasing pressure to ‘act’ over fighting in the sport, Emery’s actions took things to another level for many fans – Flyers ones included.
Staggeringly the NHL has revealed itself to be powerless to level any further supplementary discipline against Emery, who received a fighting major and instigator penalty on the play, as well as a penalty for leaving his crease and a game misconduct, earning himself an early shower.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun explained the situation on his Twitter account:
After looking at it and discussing it internally for last 24 hrs, NHL has decided not to suspend Ray Emery. Simply put, current rulebook as it stands doesn’t back any suspension for this. Obviously league doesn’t like what it saw last night there’s just nothing in rulebook for supplemental discipline for that fight.
This seems utterly bonkers to many, and is clearly something that needs addressing.
Whilst it is understandable the NHL does not want to twist current interpretations simply to suspend Emery on this occasion, no further action to amend the rule book to ensure this kind of thing does not happen again without serious consequence could be construed as ‘condoning it’ in the wrong light. A situation the NHL would really rather not be in I am sure.
Player safety is the key trend right now. Whilst Wayne Simmons, Tom Wilson et al were all willing combatants, Braden Holtby certainly was not – and seeing someone unwilling to get involved in such things essentially mugged will do little for the games image or the role fighting plays in the game.