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.
>> Report: Goalies could be suspended for fights [CSN]
DETROIT – Back on March 26, the Detroit Tigers made the trip to Clearwater to play the Phillies during the final week of the Grapefruit League schedule.
Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ starting pitcher that day at Bright House Field. The Phillies ended up losing that game by a run when their bullpen came undone in the late innings. But earlier in the game, the Phils had pretty good success against Verlander. They knocked him around for three runs in five innings. They had seven hits against him, four for extra bases.
Two months later, the Phillies came face to face with Verlander again on a warm Tuesday night in Detroit.
This time, the Phils had no chance.
They were manhandled by the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in suffering a 3-1 loss to the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
“Verlander pitched well,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He had a good fastball and we weren’t catching up to it.”
Yes, Verlander had good fastball and he knew it. Sixty-five of his 108 pitches were fastballs. He averaged 94 mph with the pitch and topped out at 97. That’s how hard his final pitch of night was. He blew it by the Phillies’ best hitter, Odubel Herrera, for his 10th strikeout of the night.
In all, Verlander pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just three hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses; the Phils entered the game averaging just 3.24 runs per game.
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last five games and it dropped them to 25-21. They have opened this challenging road trip, which finishes with three against the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the game, with two straight losses heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. Aaron Nola will get the ball against Anibal Sanchez.
Can Nola be a stopper? The Phillies could really use a victory. To get it, they will need some offense. They got just about none until Verlander left the game Tuesday night.
“We just couldn’t get enough going,” Mackanin said. “Verlander really relied on his fastball and we couldn’t capitalize.”
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for the third straight time for the Phillies. (He has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.) But with no run support, Hellickson couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he needed excellent defensive support – which he did not get.
Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.
In a close game with not much offense going against Verlander, Hellickson needed strong defense behind him. He did not get it from third baseman Maikel Franco in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and no outs, J.D. Martinez hit a bounding ball to Franco’s right. Franco tried to backhand the ball with a quick snap of his glove. Fielded cleanly, Franco probably could have started a double play. Instead, the ball got by him, was generously scored a double and led to a run. The Tigers scored twice in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
“Yes, it’s makeable,” Mackanin said of the ball that got by Franco. “He got to a certain spot and then he stopped and tried to snag it instead of taking one more step toward it. I don’t think he could have gotten in front of the ball but he could have gone through it instead of stopping and trying to snag it. I thought he could have done that.
“It’s a potential double-play ball. He needed to take one more step instead of reaching for it.”
Tommy Joseph had the best at-bats against Verlander. He lined out twice to the pull side and had a base hit in the seventh. In the ninth, the Phillies rallied for a couple of hits against Francisco Rodriguez. Joseph scorched a liner to left for a sacrifice fly and the Phillies’ only run.
“He hit the ball on the nose four times, really good at bats,” Mackanin said of Joseph. “If that ball he hits in the ninth inning finds a gap, we have the tying run at second.”
Joseph has seven hits in his first 23 at-bats and has made some hard outs. He will start at first base again Wednesday and also on Friday as the Cubs will start lefty Jon Lester. After that, he could get starts against right-handers because he’s simply out-hitting Ryan Howard, who went 1 for 4 and saw his average climb to .159.
Before the game, Mackanin said Joseph could take playing time away from Howard if he continues to hit.
Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.
Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.
Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.
Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.
The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.
Villanova’s chances at repeating as national champions just got much better.
Josh Hart is returning for his senior season.
The Wildcats’ leading scorer from last season’s title-winning team tweeted this Tuesday night:
Shortly after, Villanova officially announced the news.
Hart was in the midst of going through the NBA draft process, attending the combine in Chicago and working out for teams. By not hiring an agent, he was able to test the waters without jeopardizing his final year of college eligibility. Hart had until Wednesday to make a decision, which is coming back to the defending champs.
“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”
As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. He put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s 95-51 Final Four win over Oklahoma, before following it up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national title game in which the Wildcats thrillingly won at the buzzer, 77-74, on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer.
Hart and Jenkins, the team’s two leading scorers, return along with key pieces Jalen Brunson (9.6 ppg), Phil Booth (7.0 ppg), Mikal Bridges (6.4 ppg) and Darryl Reynolds (4.5 rpg).
“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.”