What if the National Hockey League added a rule that stipulated goalies who leave the crease and their end of the ice to fight another player will be automatically suspended 10 games, similar to players who leave the bench to join a fight on the ice? Well, it could happen.
Winnipeg Free Press sports columnist Gary Lawless reported Monday via Twitter that league general managers will discuss this rule change next week when they gather for the Hall of Fame ceremonies Monday in Toronto. Former Flyers coach Fred Shero will be officially inducted into the Hall on Monday night.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman vowed over the weekend that the league would look into goalie fighting following the ugly incident last Friday night at Wells Fargo Center when Ray Emery left his crease and pummeled Washington Caps goalie Braden Holtby, who was an unwilling combatant forced to fight (see video).
Emery, who will back up Steve Mason on Tuesday against Carolina, didn’t want to discuss the possible rule change at the morning skate. Asked nonetheless, if that rule had already been in place, would he have charged up the ice after Holtby? “I don’t know,” Emery replied. “I really don’t want to talk about it that anymore. “It’s just a rule thing. If they change the rules, they change the rules. That’s not my job, which is to stop pucks.”
Will it affect him in the future or affect other goalies? “I don’t know,” said Emery, who is listed on hockeyfights.com as having three career fights in the NHL. Emery's last fight prior to Holtby, was Feb. 22, 2007 against Buffalo's Marty Biron.
Scott Hartnell doesn’t endorse a 10-game suspension for such. “Not that it’s part of the game, but when is the last time it happened before Ray did it?” Hartnell said. “I’m sure he was frustrated with the score. All that kind of stuff. I think they would be stupid to throw in rules just because of one game. That was a blowout.
“No one really got hurt -- well, our guys got hurt in those fights. I know Braden personally, and we laughed at it after the game. It is what it is.” For now. But hockey’s culture may be changing.
- Tim Pannaccio, CSN Philly