Emery escapes further discipline for fight

Emery escapes further discipline for fight
November 2, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Flyers' Ray Emery will not be suspended

WASHINGTON -- Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was neither fined nor suspended by the NHL for leaving his crease and fighting Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in the third period of the Caps’ 7-0 win in Philadelphia.

Here’s why.

Emery was deemed the aggressor in the fight under NHL Rule 46.2, which states that an aggressor is a player who “continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.”

Under that same rule, a player deemed to be both the instigator and the aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed an instigator penalty, a fighting major, a 10-minute misconduct for instigating and a game misconduct for being the aggressor.

Emery was assessed for all of those penalties on Friday night, along with a minor for leaving his crease.

As for disciplinary action, NHL Rule 46.17 states that “a player who is deemed to be the aggressor for the third time in one regular season shall be suspended for the next two regular season games of his team.”

Since Friday night’s altercation involving Emery was his first aggressor penalty of the season, he did not receive disciplinary action and was deemed eligible to play Saturday night in Newark when the Flyers visit the New Jersey Devils.

This is not to suggest that Emery did not break an unwritten code in hockey. Players occasionally find themselves in a position to inflict excessive punishment during an altercation, and that was certainly the case Friday night in a second-period fight between Capitals forward Aaron Volpatti and Flyers forward Steve Downie.

Volpatti caught Downie with a pair of bad left hands and when Downie made it clear he was injured, Volpatti stopped and let go of Downie’s jersey. Downie was later diagnosed with a concussion.

In the case of Emery, he continued punching Holtby after it was clear that Holtby was in a vulnerable position.

As for referee Francois St. Laurent’s role in separating Emery and Holtby, a league spokesman said St. Laurent’s primary responsibility as a referee is to survey the ice for any additional infractions, not to break up lopsided fights.

Ovi update: Alex Ovechkin was held out of the Capitals’ lineup Saturday night against the Florida Panthers with what the team is calling an upper body injury. The Caps are expeted to have the day off on Sunday and the team is hopeful that Ovechkin can practice on Monday and be cleared to play Tuesday night’s home game against the New York Islanders.