On Friday night, the excrement hit the fan in a game between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. In the 3rd period, the score 7-0 Caps, a line-brawl took centre stage. The highlight of the melee was a fight (if you can call it that) between Flyers goaltender Ray Emery and pacifist netminder Braydon Holtby.
The fight was a bit of an embarrassment because Holtby wanted no part of the violence. Unfortunately that never stopped Emery from wailing on his counterpart. Even NHL enforcers refrain from punching a combatant who is not able or unwilling to defend himself (usually).
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman commented on Emery’s actions, which do not warrant a suspension because there is no rule stating the unprovoked assault of an unwilling opponent is illegal. Here’s what he had to say: “I don’t think anybody liked it, liked what it looked like. Fortunately, it’s not something that happens very often. But I’m sure it’s something we’ll focus on, particularly with the general managers.” Bettman quote courtesy of Adam Portzline’s column with The Columbus Dispatch. Read full post here.
Emery’s bullying of Holtby is certainly not the first time an NHL player has attacked an unwilling opponent. Below is video of former Leaf Wendel Clark attempting to destroy a bewildered Slava Fetisov in 1989. In this old footage, at least the refs assess the situation and act appropriately by breaking up the fight before it got ugly.