Ray Emery took to the ice for the Flyers as the starting goalie in Saturdays tilt against the New Jersey Devils – which means that Emery will not be suspended.
“Flyers goalie Ray Emery has no disciplinary hearing scheduled after his fisticuffs with Washington’s Braden Holtby on Friday night, according to an NHL spokesman.”
This is quite perplexing, and I think it is sending the wrong message to players and fans of the NHL. The league has handed out several suspensions this year, why hold back now? Two of the most recent suspensions have been dished out to Patrick Kaleta and John Scott both of the Buffalo Sabres – both were suspended for targeting the head.
If I could ask the NHL Department Of Player Safety just one question, it would would have to be…”what is the difference between what Kaleta and Scott did, compared to what Emery did?”
Unfortunately I am not going to waste my time tweeting, writing an email, or sending snail mail to the NHL – so my question will go unanswered. Wait just a minute though, why not just answer my own question…
Both Kaleta and Scott, as mentioned, were suspended for hits that targeted the head. Emery will not be suspended for viciously punching Hotlby directly in the head. Yes, Kaleta and Scott were checking an opponent, and Emery and Holtby were engaged in a “fight”, I understand that aspect. Slightly different, and I can accept that. My point though, both head related – a stretch I know, bare with me.
Speaking of “checking an opponent”, which I would consider a regular act in the NHL (obviously). I am not sure how you feel about players who are suspended for targeting the head during a check, but I am a firm believer that these players are not truly out their to try to hurt other players. In most cases, I think you could consider these plays to be unfortunate hockey plays – the game is extremely fast paced and players often only have a split second to react to a given situation.
Let’s take a look at the “split second” that Emery had to react in the given situation. Wait, that is right, he skated all the way down the ice to pick a fight with Holtby. At the moment of initial contact between the two players, Holtby backed away and did not want to fight Emery – an act I would consider smart, not just because it was Emery, but because it made no sense to fight. Emery pursued Holtby, and eventually a “fight” broke out. A fight in which Emery got the best of Holtby, striking him several times in the head.
So when I look at the difference between the actions of Kaleta and Scott compared to Emery, I see two players who were reacting in a face paced environment and were most likely not acting in a malicious manner. In Emery’s case, I see a player who knew exactly what he was doing and deliberately engaged in a vengeful demeanor.
So listen up NHL players and fans…it is not okay for players to target the head during a check (agreed), but it is completely acceptable to go out of your way, give a player no option but to fight, and then bash him in the head numerous times.
If you don’t know where I stand on this matter you may want to read all that over again- what is more important now though is to find out where you stand on the matter?