With a handful of events sitting at the forefront of everyone’s collective memories, the NHL’s GM meetings are set to look like a breakdown of current events based on the potential changes that are set to be discussed.
Amongst the topics are diving, bullying and goalie fights. Exactly how goalie fights may be impacted could be quite severe.
Thanks to Ray Emery’s antics against the Capitals, talks surrounding goalie fights are likely to revolve around supplementary discipline or perhaps even doing away with the practice altogether. A few reports have indicated that a 10-game ban will be levied against any goaltender who chooses to cross the red line to fight his counterpart and I say that’s one step too far.
Even though a situation like what unfolded in Philadelphia is about as rare as a John Scott hat trick, the League needs to have some sort of safeguard against such events after coming away from the Philly brawl with egg on their face. It was a situation that likely called for a suspension to Emery for a reckless decision to (basically) attack a player who had no interest in engaging in a fight. But without any safeguards in place, there was nothing done by the League.
Now the League is likely to make a move to compensate for the previous shortcoming. If the chatter serves to be true, it will be something of an overreaction to the situation.
Goalie fights in general aren’t exactly commonplace in the NHL. That being said, they’re one of those things that drum up quite a bit of fan excitement whenever they occur. Emery’s beating of Holtby hardly qualifies as a fight as the latter combatant showed no interest in fighting as the former steamed down the ice. To think that the NHL may take strides to completely remove this practice from the game would be disappointing.
Considering any sort of major rule change in the NHL will come with an adjustment period, this would be no different. What rubs the wrong way is the fact that there could be a rule instituted to limit incidents like the one in Philadelphia, while keeping the ability – as rare as it may be – for the goalies to meet up and fight.
It’s quite simple, in fact. Keep the automatic 10-game suspension to the offending party, just move the border to the far blueline. This way, if a goalie were to pass the attacking blueline to start a fight with an opponent (goalie or otherwise) he would incur an automatic 10-game suspension. Similar to the rule for leaving the bench to start a fight there would be no questions asked as the rule is very black and white.
This allows for is two willing combatants to meet up at center ice to throw down. If one goalie chooses that he’s not interested in fighting, he can hang out in his crease and enjoy the show. This way the potential for goalie fights will remain in the game with safeguards in place to prevent, or at least deter, ugly attacks such as what transpired between Emery and Holtby.
Seems simple enough, hopefully it’s something that is brought up instead of drawing a hard line on goalie fights.