Sens backup goalie on Emery’s fight: ‘It’s assault, isn’t it?’

Sens backup goalie on Emery’s fight: ‘It’s assault, isn’t it?’

Your last-place Flyers are back in action tonight in Ottawa—can you feel the excitement? Despite scuffling through the first five weeks of the season though, Philadelphia has managed to remain at the forefront of the NHL news cycle thanks to one Ray Emery.

Emery’s beatdown of Washington netminder Braden Holtby has sparked much debate and possibly an eventual rule-change that could effectively eliminate goalie fights. There’s a feeling around the league that the line has been crossed, and apparently that extends to rival goaltenders.

Senators backup Robin Lehner chimed in with his two cents before their tilt with the Flyers on Tuesday, likening what Emery did to a crime. Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun has more:

"I can't be down 7-0 and decide I'll take a guy that can't defend himself and pound him, I don't think," said Lehner, who will back up Craig Anderson in Tuesday's Ottawa-Philadelphia game at Canadian Tire Centre. "I think I should get suspended if I do it. It's assault - isn't it?"

Lehner has one fight as a pro and it occurred when he was with the Binghamton Senators on Oct. 20, 2012. His opponent? Syracuse goalie Riku Helenius.

“My rule has been, if I see the other goalie goes out to the corner, (my) team is a man (down),” said Lehner. “That’s what happened in my fight in the AHL too. I was into it and Helenius came down because it was 6-against-5. (It wasn’t) even numbers. Then you go.

“Holtby wasn’t interested. So he shouldn’t have gotten pounded. Simple, I think.”

Lehner talks a big game, but neither he nor Emery are starting tonight, and the chances the Sens have to pull Craig Anderson against the league’s worst offense (1.63 goals per game) are slim. It’s safe to say Lehner will avoid an “assault,” unless of course Emery decides to track him down in the parking lot afterwards.

I’m fairly certain the NHL would not need a new rule to slap him with a lengthy suspension for that kind of behavior. On that note, it’s been quiet on the rule-change front, which was said to be high on the agenda when general managers met over the weekend before Hall of Fame ceremonies.

[ Watch former Flyers head coach Fred Shero get inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame by son Ray ]

As for the Flyers, perhaps their four-goal outbreak against Edmonton over the weekend was a sign of things to come, particularly for Claude Giroux who finally found the back of the net for the first time in eleventy-billion games. Don’t look now, but Philly is 4-3-1 over their last eight, so at least there’s some improvement since beginning the season 1-7.

>> Senators goalie Robin Lehner on Emery: Assault is a crime, isn’t it? [Ottawa Sun]

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek 1st road win

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek 1st road win

Penn State (5-2, 3-1) vs. Purdue (3-4, 1-3)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
Saturday, noon, ABC/ESPN2

Scouting Penn State
The Lions upended the Buckeyes, 24-21, when safety Marcus Allen blocked a field goal and cornerback Grant Haley returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 left in the game. The Lions, who rallied from a 21-7 deficit after three quarters, earned their third straight victory.

Allen and Haley were named Big Ten co-Special Teams Players of the Week, and linebacker Brandon Bell, who had a career-high 19 tackles in the game, earned the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Running back Saquon Barkley has rushed for 681 yards, fifth most in the Big Ten, and is tied for the conference lead in touchdowns with nine.

Scouting Purdue
Purdue fell to Nebraska last week in the debut of Boilermakers interim coach Gerad Parker, who replaced the fired Darrell Hazell on Oct. 16. Quarterback David Blough leads the Big Ten in passing yardage (2,065) and total offense (300.7 yards per game), and has thrown 14 touchdown passes (albeit with 11 interceptions).

The Boilermakers are, however, last in the Big Ten in rushing offense (120.3), total defense (441.0), turnover margin (minus-8) and red-zone offense (15 for 23, 11 touchdowns) and next to last in rushing defense (249.0) and passing efficiency.

The Lions lead 13-3-1 and have won the last seven meetings, the most recent a 45-21 victory in 2013.

Storyline to watch
This is the ultimate trap game for PSU, and the Lions’ approach to it will say a lot about their leadership and maturity. They have also dropped their last four road games dating back to last season, including both this fall. Their last victory away from home came last Oct. 24, against Maryland in Baltimore.

What’s at stake
The Lions can become bowl-eligible with a victory.

Penn State 35, Purdue 21

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.