Better With Popcorn

Emery's Actions Against Holtby Were Unacceptable

Often times, a well-placed fight can change the momentum in a game.

But when it's a 7-0 game, there is no momentum to change. And when it's one goalie senselessly beating on another goalie, it isn't well-placed at all.

That's exactly what happened between Ray Emery and Braden Holtby.

Just eight seconds after Joel Ward's hat trick put Washington up, 7-0, a line brawl ensued that began with Wayne Simmonds dropping the gloves with Tom Wilson.

While those two battled, Emery raced down the ice and challenged Holtby to drop the gloves. Unfortunately for Holtby, he never really dropped his gloves and Emery continually beat on him.

Two things jumped out right away.

Where were the referees during this fight? It's totally understandable that when a player is unloading punches that it's dangerous for the whole situation when a third party tries to intervene with so many moving parts.

But there was an opportunity right away to keep Emery off of Holtby, who clearly wanted no part of Emery. There was also an opportunity when they were up against the boards after the second or third time Emery landed a punch to the back of Holtby's head.

Which leads to the next point: why would Emery go about a fight that way?

It's not like Holtby delivered a cheap shot to a player or was battling physically all game with Emery where a little bit of hatred could spark those actions. Holtby was trying to avoid taking a direct hit from Emery, so the assailant had only one option and that was to pummel the back of his head.

"Yeah a little bit. I don’t remember," Emery said after the game when asked if there was dialog with Holtby leading up to the fight. "He didn’t want a fight but I said basically protect yourself. He didn’t really have much of a choice."

Emery got two minutes for instigator, two minutes for leaving his crease, five minutes for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct to total 29 minutes. Actions like that are completely uncalled for, and there is a possibility that Emery could get a phone call from the NHL's Director of Player Safety's office.

"I’m not sure (if the league will call)," Emery said. "Like I said it was a penalty for fighting in hockey, and I gave him a chance to protect himself."

Holtby was asked about it after the game and was not going to comment on it. Teammates Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom were asked as well and also refused to give an opinion.

There has already been a wide range of outrage over the incident.

Fans from both participating teams as well as the rest of the NHL are calling for a suspension to Emery, who has had two other NHL fights. Both of those fights happened in the same game on February 22, 2007 when Emery fought Buffalo goalie Martin Biron and enforcer Andrew Peters during the same scrum.

Then there are the few who are defending Emery's actions, stating that he was trying to spark a team that is now 3-9 and losing games in the worst ways. Unfortunately to clueless talking heads like Matthew Barnaby, a goalie isn't required to spark a team in that way.

If anything, Steve Mason's play in net prior to tonight is what's healthy for the team, giving them someone to rely on as well as something to play for. Mason has been one of the few bright spots for the Flyers, and has gained the attention of his teammates for constant nights of stellar play and no win to show for it.

Another minor fallout from the Emery incident is the injury to Vincent Lecavalier. Because Emery jumped Holtby, it created a line brawl that saw Brayden Schenn and Lecavalier battle Alexander Urbom and Steve Oleksy respectively.

Schenn, who has had a few fights not go his way already in his career, was fine in his battle. Lecavalier, on the other hand, was injured in his fight and will not play in today's game against the Devils.

Emery not only created a dangerous situation for Holtby, but created an unnecessary one for his teammates while one was injured during the fight. 

Whether Emery gets punished or not by the league will be determined in the following days, this 7-0 loss was not only a low point on the season but completely opposite of the new-found maturity Paul Holmgren and Emery talked about in the off season when he was signed.

This is just another example that shows Emery is not the number one goaltender in Philadelphia.

-----

John Russo
Editor; Featured Writer
Twitter: @Roose_TCL@TCLFlyers
Email: russo@thecheckingline.com

Comments

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

John when I heard via twitter that a goalie fight happened in this game I instantly thought back to when Penguin backup Brent Johnson challenged Rick DiPietro.

DiPietro had left the crease to interfere a bit with Matt Cooke. He threw his blocker and glove in Cooke's face, both guys fell. The players swarmed Cooke thinking he just hit Rick. Johnson then left his net and went to the opposing blue line to challenge DiPietro. He obliged and they fought. It was more of a "traditional" fight if you can even say that, but it still felt wrong and Johnson was partially in the wrong by doing this.

So with that said, I initially thought that maybe Holtby tripped a player or slashed some ankles, so Emery went down the ice in frustration to even things up, but it wasn't even remotely like that. I was very turned off by the events that took place.

I really feel that this instance is going to get the wheels turning in banning certain fights. I think the NHL has had enough and that they will start to issue heavier penalties and suspensions for guys who fight so often in a season or for players who engage in fights after one has been started.

I just find it hard to believe that the league will tolerate instances like this anymore. I honestly thought they were going to change things up after the Islanders and Penguins brawled out on Long Island, but they didn't. Those games are not fun anymore, they are just flat out embarrassing. I'm glad the hockey fans out there that like the game are understanding this.

Think about it, Downie is reportedly still in the hospital as of this posting and Lecavalier is expected to be out for multiple weeks, according to TSN Bob McKenzie. Vinny had no place fighting at that point. There were multiple fights going on already, it was avoidable.

Best wishes to Downie in the hospital as well. I don't like him as a player, but I hope he makes a swift and complete recovery.