Is the Ray Emery Rule Coming?

Posted November 14, 2013

Ray Emery vs Braden Holtby, via Rob Marks of Inside Hockey.

At their meeting Tuesday in Toronto, NHL general managers discussed the idea of imposing a ban on fights involving goaltenders. Battles involving goalies have become a hot issue around the league thanks to the Nov. 1 beat down that Flyers goalie Ray Emery put on Washington’s Braden Holtby.

Although nothing was decided at Tuesday’s meeting, the consensus is the the debate will allow for further discussion to put in place concrete disciplinary actions regarding goalie fighting later down the road at their meetings in March.

I think it is funny how one incident can make people think that goalie fighting is a true league-wide problem. Honestly, I don’t recall anybody even talking about such a ban before Emery traveled the length of the ice to steamroll his counterpart, who wanted nothing to do with him.

However, what is the issue with two willing combatant goalies? I don’t see one. If they both want to fight, then let them. Goalie fights tend to be fun, entertaining, and clumsy. Half the time it forces line brawls to stop and watch the goalies duke it out. Who doesn’t love a good goalie fight? (Read the history of Caps goalie fights.)

One idea that has been widely tossed around is instituting a 10-game suspension for netminders who cross the center line to violently confront the opposing goalie. This makes sense. If both netminders want to fight then let them meet at the center line. Of course if this rule was in place today, Emery would be suspended. The only reason he is not suspended today is because the league can’t suspend a player who hasn’t broken any of the league rules.

I don’t think this should just be limited to goaltenders. What about skaters who force their opponents to unwillingly deal with arms and fists coming at them, shouldn’t they be held to same standards?