Last Friday some people headed out to the mall, the movies or simply stayed home to enjoy a relaxing night. Others headed down to the Wells Fargo Center to catch what they hoped would be a good hockey game. A win is always a plus but a good close hockey game is always entertaining. Keeping in mind that Ovechkin was out with an injury and that the Flyers were 3-8, there was very little to cheer about. Never-the-less, the sellout crowd piled in and got ready to see a hockey game.
The first 20 min was a close hockey game, but the Flyers seemed lifeless and were hanging on. Despite the 1-0 deficit, the arena was filled with boos. Flash forward to the second period, you would have thought that the Flyers didn’t show up and they placed a trash can in front of the net and hoped for the Caps so spend the next 20 min shooting at a trash can. Instead, the Flyers did show up but didn’t play and Mason was hung out to dry.
In comes Ray Emery in relief.
Ray Emery hadn’t seen action since Oct 12. Sources say he’d been frustrated that he’s been the “assumed” backup when he believed that two starts weren’t enough for him to prove himself, especially with that defense in front of him but said he would be ready when called upon. He just came from a Stanley Cup winning team and he had his role in their winning season going 17-1 with 3 shutouts. He hadn’t been able to help the sinking ship that he’s on and all he’s been able to do is watch.
The third period comes and it’s pretty much over. It was 6-0 at the start, all you could hope was for a couple of goals and no injuries. After the Caps scored their seventh goal, enough was enough for the Flyers. Rage built in. A wake up call was needed. 17 seconds later Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves after delivering a hard check. As that fight went down, Brayden Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier began to find dancing partners as well. Frustrated, pissed and feeling left out, Ray Emery a known goalie fighter, raced to the other end and challenged Capitals goalie Holtby.
Having watched the game live I can tell you how excited I was as a fan to see a goalie fight. I was also excited just to see some life in the Flyers. And finally, I was very excited to see a player get his butt kicked. What I have just described to you is how I felt in the “moment” with what had transpired. After several instant replay reviews and multiple lashings toward Emery for his fight, I decided to wonder if I may have got caught up in the moment and thought maybe what I saw wasn’t something to be excited about.
I took this into affect first. The line Brawl I thought wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Flyers have had no life in any of their games. Four fights at once in a 7-0 womping is something I thought they needed.
Now Ray Emery:
As I said before, Emery hadn’t seen action since Oct 12. His team is 3-9 and currently getting flat out embarrassed. The fans are booing and chanting to fire the GM. His Captain and veterans aren’t stepping up. Emery had enough. Emery skated down with one thing in mind: “I’m fighting no matter what.”
I watched the video several times. Emery skated up to Holtby and began tugging on him. Holtby didn’t seem interested and the ref was right between them. What you see next is Holtby dropping his blocker and starts swinging which in my eyes means “I accept.” Even if he doesn’t want to fight, he still dropped his equipment. The ref then stepped back. Ray Emery, a huge boxing fan, did what everyone expected. He beat up Holtby. What everyone didn’t expect was for it to look like a slaughter.
Emery didn’t let up and the ref never stepped in. I personally didn’t see anything wrong with the fight other than that once the fight was decide,d which was after Ray Emery’s fourth punch , he just kept going and going. If he had stopped once Holtby was on his knees and pleading for his life, maybe it wouldn’t have looked so bad. But Emery was a man possessed and he kept pounding away. The whole point was to send a message and it wasn’t to the Capitals. It was to each other. The message was, “We need to wake up! We need to step up! We need to get our heads out of our *****. This is unacceptable!”
Now did Ray Emery lose sight of this message during his fight? Most likely, I say. Was it classless? Not entirely. Was it wrong? No. How many times have we seen this? This happens a few times a season and we love it… however we usually see goalies meet one another in the middle.
His message seemed to somewhat carry over and he started the following night and posted his first shutout of the season. Granted he faced only 14 shots, but never-the-less a win is a win and a shutout is a shutout.
There has been major media backlash towards Emery. The Philadelphia beat writers as CSN and Philly.com won’t let up on Emery. You’d of thought he was Marty McSorley. The close minded writers obviously don’t like fighting and love negativity so they’ve been bashing Emery since Friday and it is continuing. Enough already! He didn’t do anything wrong in the NHL’s eyes. This is coming from the well hated Commissioner. “He didn’t break any rules, therefore a suspension isn’t warranted.” Tim Panacccio from CSNPhilly.com believes Emery should have been fined, suspended and fighting needs to be removed. Are you kidding me? I’ve seen far worse and nothing even happen. Problem with Tim is, he hates fighting and never liked Emery, even in his first stint with the Flyers. Tim uses his bully pulpit to try and bully his way through the article and make it seem that everyone else is wrong. To me, that’s no different than what Emery did.
Fans are also split down the middle. “He was classes, it was a massacre” or “He did the right thing, it was ok.” My view is this; he wanted to step up and do something. He wanted to light a fire under his team. He did that without breaking any rules that would warrant any additional discipline other than the penalty minutes he received. Should he have let up? Yes. Even though Holtby didn’t really want to fight and I say didn’t really because he did drop his equipment and if he really didn’t want to fight, he would have either skated away or turtle. He actually skated toward Emery. I’m saying Emery was 100% right but in the sense of his message yes he’s right. If Holtby cowered with his equipment on and Emery began punching with the ref in between then that is a whole different story. This is not what happened, yet people are making it out so be just that and worse.
Captain Claude hasn’t done anything to step up and help right this team. Neither has Kimmo, Hartnell, Streit, Talbot (who was traded) nor anyone else for that matter. The guy who hasn’t played in 3 weeks decided “Ok, I’ve had enough of this. I’ll send everyone a message.” Then after that he sent another one by posting a shutout in the very next game. This team needed a wakeup call and the fans needed something to cheer about. I have nothing against what Emery did. It wasn’t bush league because Holtby did attempt to defend himself. He just didn’t do a good job and is not a fighter by any means. Nobody had an issue when Ron Hextall did it. He slashed players skating away from him. He chased down Chris Chellios. He constantly left his crease to brawl. Why is Emery any different, especially is he didn’t break any rules?
Now I’m not advocating that he and the Flyers should do this on a regular basis. This is an isolated incident and it should be left as such. I hope the writers at CSNphilly and Philly.com would open their eyes more and realize that they cover hockey and should stick to hockey. Enough of this bashing the players crap. I mean they don’t bash the players for their lackluster play, they bash for other things.
This is just my view on this incident and everyone can have a different view. My reasons for my view are explained. I’m not going to act like “The professional writers” (if you want to call them that) and keep my view as if’s the only and correct way. I just want the bashing and backlash to stop. Tonight is another game. Let’s go Flyers!
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Watch it again, at the end of the fight Holtby still had his glove on. His blocker flew off when Emery rag dolled him. He didnt accept the fight and didnt even get a chance to take his glove off, which maybe an extra free hand could have helped him defend himself somewhat. Classless move by Emery, he used to be a boxer himself, he should know better when a dude isnt ready to fight.
Punching a guy in the back of the head repeatedly... Stop looking past the obvious
Emery has a small skill set with one big plus. He showed it that night.