Some might say Ray Emery crossed a few lines Friday night. He crossed two blue lines, for instance, he crossed a red line, and he probably crossed another line when he went after Braden Holtby, who was completely unwilling to fight him, and peppered the Washington Capitals' netminder with punches -- some of which were to the back of the head, and some of which came after Holtby was already down on the ground.
Sure, Emery told Holtby to protect himself, which was kind of him, but everything after that was less so. It was a pretty disgusting scene, and while Emery was tossed from the game for instigating the fight, many felt his actions were deserving of some supplemental discipline as well.
There is none coming for Emery.
According to Pierre Lebrun, while the league didn't like it, this is one of those Air Bud moments. There's nothing in the rulebook that says a dog can't play basketball, and there's nothing in the rulebook that says you can't do exactly what Emery did. From Lebrun's Twitter:
After looking at it and discussing it internally for last 24 hrs, NHL has decided not to suspend Ray Emery. Simply put, current rulebook as it stands doesn't back any suspension for this. Obviously league doesn't like what it saw last night there's just nothing in rulebook for supplemental discipline for that fight.
In other words, the league is as helpless here as Holtby was Friday night.
I don't want to seem like a radical, but this strikes me as something that should get fixed. Remember when the league clarified what came to be known as the Sean Avery rule, Rule 75, about two seconds after Avery made a mockery of screening goalies by turning his back to the play and waving a stick in Martin Brodeur's face?
Similarly, Emery's assault on Holtby calls for another hasty clarification to the rulebook, or maybe even just an out-and-out adjustment. Maybe an allowance for supplemental discipline, at the league's discretion, after instigator penalties?
An endorsement from the Players' Association, if you need it, doesn't seem like it would be all that difficult to get. Most of the league's goalies could get behind a rule that protects them from Emery, I think. Canucks' backup Eddie Lack probably speaks for more than himself:
About all the Ray Emery questions, no I wouldn't stand a chance. #runforrestrun
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) November 2, 2013
So yeah. It's embarrassing that the league has no recourse to react to Emery's attack, but if they don't want to be seen as tacitly endorsing that gong show last night, they'll get started on amending the rulebook so they're not this helpless the next time around.
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