A surprising number of Flyers fans thought it was a good idea for Ray Emery to pick a fight with and beat up an unwilling combatant during a 7-0 blowout loss against the Washington Capitals last week. Many around the sport of hockey were appalled by the goaltender’s behavior though, to the point where that part of the game may soon be no more.
Per CSN’s Tim Panaccio, Gary Lawless of the Winnigpeg Free Press reports the NHL is considering a new rule that would slap a 10-game suspension on any netminder who leaves their own end of the ice to fight. They’re not wasting any time either, as the potential rule change will be on the agenda when the league’s general managers meet this weekend.
Just because it’s on the agenda doesn’t mean the new rule will pass, but the league has been wagging its collective finger at Emery’s actions from the get-go. As Panotch points out, Commissioner Gary Bettman was critical of the fight afterwards, so anybody who’s been paying attention to recent rule changes around pro sports can see where this is going.
Here’s a video of Emery’s assault on Caps goaltender Braden Holtby and the line brawl that ensued.
Most hockey fans seem to agree fighting has a place in the sport, and I should think that includes goalie brawls as well. If netminders run the risk of an immediate 10-game ban though, that would mean we’ve likely seen the masks come off for the last time. 10 games equates to almost 10 percent of the NHL season, which is a long time for one round of ice boxing.
A suspension for goalies would also seem to put us one step closer to a similar rule that would discourage skaters from fighting as well. Sports leagues are more concerned than ever with their image, as well as the safety of the players (primarily for legal reasons no doubt). Fighting arguably is not helping in either department.
For the time being though, it’s just the goalies that are in danger being frozen out of the fisticuffs. Apparently, you can blame Ray Emery for that should the rule come to pass.