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.
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.