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Bettman on Emery fight: ‘I don’t think anybody liked it, liked what it looked like’

Nov 3, 2013, 3:42 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

While Philadelphia’s Ray Emery wasn’t suspended for his role in the one-sided fight with Washington’s Braden Holtby, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wasn’t happy with how things happened in Philadelphia on Friday.

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch spoke with the commissioner and got his thoughts on what went down concerning Emery.

“We constantly monitor and look at the game,” Bettman said. “There was no rule that was violated to elevate things to the level of a suspension. It’s something we’ll continue to discuss.

“I don’t think anybody liked it, liked what it looked like. Fortunately it’s not something that happens very often. But I’m sure it’s something we’ll focus on, particularly with the general managers.”

Bettman voiced his support for Brendan Shanahan and the NHL Department of Player Safety and the job they’ve done. He reiterated the rarity in which things like this occur as well as the relative smaller percentage of hits that require their attention.

That said, it’s not good for Emery or the Flyers if the biggest boss is taking notice.

  1. bagjr387 - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    I don’t *think* anybody like you commish…

    There was 18,000 people loving it at the arena, so maybe just you and Shanaban didn’t like it(and that one “take it outside” lady)

    • lordfletcher - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      It was ridiculous and not needed. Emery pulled a trash move.

      and I am fine with fighting in hockey but there is a fine line… clearly crossed. its a bummer he can’t be suspended one game+

      • esracerx46 - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        I thought their was a rule where if you pull the other guys helmet off during a fight it was an extra penalty. I guess ripping a guys mask off is different.

      • cofran2004 - Nov 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        I’m not actually replying to you lord fletcher. I’m replying to esrecerx.

        The rule is you can’t take your own helmet off. Guys have been getting around the rule all season by taking each other’s helmets off, and really just making a mockery of the rule. Pretty comical to watch, really.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      Only Flyers fans would “love” seeing their team lose 7-0.

      • upper90cheese - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        Ray Emery instigated a fight with Holtby. Wasn’t the first player to instigate a fight and won’t be the last. If you don’t like it, go watch the KHL or some polite Euro league. So sick of everybody but the players who want to pusify this sport.

      • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:47 PM

        Oh sorry that I don’t love watching thugs try to injure other players. If I wanted to watch guys getting the crap beaten out of them, I’d watch boxing.

      • hockey412 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

        I was thinking that same thing as I was reading these comments. So many fans are taking the “Oh yeah, well I loved this” attitude, it’s easy to see why Snider feels the culture doesn’t need to change. Why would it? He’s giving them what they love!

  2. lordfletcher - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    “That said, it’s not good for Emery or the Flyers if the biggest boss is taking notice.”

    Flyers have bigger issues than worrying about Gary

  3. flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I’ll be mad if there’s not a rule about this before next season.

    • govtminion - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      But what would it cover? Goalie fights? Can’t fight if the score is a certain distance apart?

      Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was ridiculous too, but Bettman is right- what rule was broken? What should be changed?

      • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        I like fighting too, as long as both combatants are willing. Heck, look at the Wilson-Simmonds fight that started the line brawl. Loved it. Two guys who want to fight going at it. Fighting shouldn’t be allowed if one of the combatants wants nothing to do with the fight (like Holtby). That’s bush league.

        Also, something should be done about punches to the back of the head. I love how the NHL has been very pro-active in cracking down on head shots, but they need to do more to protect their players in that regard.

      • patmanbnl - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Add language to the existing fighting rule saying that any fighting major which results in a game misconduct is subject to review for supplementary discipline.

      • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM


        That would work.

      • cobra617 - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        flavadave10 is spot on.

        Punching to the back of the head is very dangerous. The sport that is predicated on punching each other senseless (Boxing) outlaws it. They are called rabbit punches. Emery being a boxer knows this. You could even see from how deranged he looked that he was out for blood.

        For a contrast on what a “real” hockey fight should be, look at the Volpatti/Downie fight. As soon as Downie is injured and can’t see out of his eye, he tells Volpatti and Volpatti immediately stops. Volpatti knew that continuing would have potentially caused far more serious damage to Downie. Or look at the Parros/Orr fight from earlier this year. As soon as Parros gets knocked out from being pulled face first into the ice, Orr is the first one to pop up and call for medical attention.

        Yes fights can injure players, but there is typically no purposeful intent to injure. Emery had a crazed look in his eyes while he is punching Holtby to the back of the head. If boxing outlaws rabbit punches (where the combatants are wearing thickly padded gloves), Hockey should make it a suspension to do so. Again, Emery of all people, with boxing experience knows this danger.

  4. hockeyflow33 - Nov 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I liked it Gary.

    • storminator16 - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      I didn’t like it. I loved it.

      • hockey412 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        You are the reason that Holmgren still has a job. The ‘cultural’ problem with that team doesn’t stop at the team itself.

      • storminator16 - Nov 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        Thanks. I just don’t have a problem with what Emery was trying to do there. I have a problem with the ref in that video. He could have done a better job to stop that, but he was more worried about other Capitals jumping in to help Holtby out.

        League needs to do a better job of policing its officials when it comes to controlling situations. If I remember correctly, this was a secondary fight, no? He should have stopped Emery.

  5. jimw81 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    nothing new from Gary. flyers were always place notice from league. Gary should be more worried about how is Director of Players Safety is a laughing stock around the league.

  6. mclovinhockey - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I’ve seen tons of players fight opponents who are unwilling, hell, look at most Crosby’s fights, very similar. Emery ran down the ice during a brawl, tried to fight a guy who said no, realized he already got a few penalties for leaving his zone, and charging at a player, and decided to try to spark something.

    I am not condoning this play at all. I wish he could have been suspended, there really needs to be more rules for fighting in hockey. Hitting players in the back of the head and while they are down need to be punishable by suspension, as well as using equipment as weapons in a fight.

    It’s fun to watch goalies fight, it’s not fun to watch one goalie fight.


    • killerpgh - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      When has Crosby fought anyone who wasn’t willing? The only one I can think of is when Crosby fought Brett McLean. No doubt that Crosby jumped the gun on that fight, but McLean was interviewed after that game and said something like Crosby asked him to fight before the face-off and he said yes. He also said he thought Crosby was joking around since there was a fight that lead to the face-off. So even if I give you that fight that is 1 out of his 6 NHL fights. I wouldn’t say that falls under “most” of his fights.

      • cofran2004 - Nov 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        That’s not how it happened. McLean challenged him to the fight, and crosby said no. Then, during the faceoff, crosby jumped him. This is one of the major reasons crosby earned his reputation among other players and most intelligent fans.

        That and his famous nut shots from behind. I’d find the links, but I’m at work. I’m willing to risk being on a sports site, but youtube is where I draw the line. xD

  7. 7mantel - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    flavadave10. If holtby didn’t want anything to do with the fight , why was he out of his crease and at the top of the circle ?

    • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Because goalies always do that during stoppages of play? Holtby was also shaking his head and turning away from Emery repeatedly. But I’m sure that didn’t mean that he didn’t want to fight.

      • hockeyflow33 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        No they don’t, there are rules that dictate where a goalie is allowed and not allowed to be during stoppages.

      • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        OK hockeyflow. So did the fact that Holtby turned away from Emery repeatedly show that he wanted to fight? Stop defending a thug.

    • shaundre93 - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      He was clearly skating away from Emery. Did you conveniently not notice that Emery was coming from Holtbys net towards him? Obviously Emery charged into Holtbys crease and Holtby tried to just skate away

  8. 7mantel - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    mclovinhockey : most of Crosby’s fights ? Your kidding right ! Check Sids fight with Boris Valabik !

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:07 AM

      Ha, Crosby can fight. Plus he’s smart about who he fights.

  9. broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Give it a rest Gary. Your crap got stale a long time ago.

  10. shortsxit34 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    If Holtby did want to fight, why were his gloves still on? If Holtby did want to fight, why did Emery brag to the media that Holtby said he didn’t want to?

    I honestly can’t comprehend somebody seeing this video and saying Holtby was a willing participant.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:23 PM


  11. shortsxit34 - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    The NHL absolutely have rules that would cover what Emery did. Attempt to injure is a match penalty and subject to suspension.

    I would say racing across the ice, fighting a guy that says no, attacking him from behind when he’s defenseless, and refusing go stop would cover qualify. The NHL simply doesn’t want to do anything about it-either because they want the publicity or because they’re incompetent. Neither would surprise me.

    • nickh7020 - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      Great comment. I totally agree. Ray should be suspened at least one game.
      A total mugging by Ray.

  12. wingsfan97 - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Hotlby shouldn’t have been a p***y.

    The only way to elimnate head shots and other injures is to ban fighting and checking.that would probably lose viewers.a lot of people would rather see a lot of big hits and fights like the (pre 2000’s)

    • WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      He should have fought back like all those Flyers who are now out for 3 weeks right?

  13. nicknyhc - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    I liked seeing it. What I don’t like is listening to Gary Bettman speak about anything.

    Holtby should have manned up.

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      I liked seeing it too. I thought Holtby was gonna crap himself. Jeeze people are acting like it was John Scott or Zdeno Chara going after him. It was a goalie on goalie fight. Relax people.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Yeah. He wasn’t manly enough to allow 4 goals and take out the frustration that he has because he sucks out on an unwilling to fight player.

  14. shaundre93 - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Bettman needs to address the officials reaction to the altercation as well. That ref should have stepped in but, by the letter of the law, the refs are not supposed to get involved in fights, only the linesman. I understand they want the refs to be uninvolved so they can keep track of who gets what penalties, but they have to have an exception for when a players safety is at risk.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      Honestly, I think that’s what maddens me the most about that fight. Imagine if Holtby would have gotten injured.

      I’m a hockey ref for a beer league, and I’ve had to get myself involved in scrums several times to protect the safety of the other players. Some times you have to forget what your “roles” are and do what deep down you know is the best thing to do. If I saw what Emery did to Holtby, I would throw everything I know out the window and broken up the fight the moment I saw that Holtby wasn’t willing to fight.

  15. flyerguy73 - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Emery should have been suspended, or something. He is a loser. There is no room for this in the NHL.

  16. nickh7020 - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    A total bush league move by Ray. I think fighting has a place in hockey, but only if both players want it. This was just a mugging done by Ray. Totally uncalled for. What did it prove?
    Give you Stanley Cup ring back. You don’t deserve it.

  17. 950003cups - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    A) I love a hood scrap. But there’s a difference between two men in engaging in a brawl and a much bigger angry man taking out his anger on someone who had nothing to do with the incident and declined the fight.

    B) why did they have to post a pic of Bettman at Prudential Center?

  18. cmpuck - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    “I don’t think anybody liked it, liked what it looked liked.”

    Same could be said about how most people feel he’s been running the league the last 20 years.

    • blackheart78 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      @ CMPUNK Are you secretly Chris Chelios?

      • cmpuck - Nov 4, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan.

  19. blackheart78 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    @ CMPUCK Are you secretly Chris Chelios ?

  20. mcphillthy - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    You’re all racist! Nobody from the caps even stepped up to help their goalie. You keyboard pansies need to change your manpons. Emery unloaded some frustration on holtby. Oh well… Go ahead and thumbs down this. Lol. I still support emery and my flyers.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      I still like cheesesteak but the Flyers suck.

      • cheesesteak75 - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:28 PM


    • flavadave10 - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      Oh so those Capitals players trying to intervene but were stopped by the officials were just optical illusions? Next I suppose you’ll tell us the Flyers are a good team?

  21. ralphwilsonisrich - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Emery next fight time take on John Scott.

  22. matthewmacisaac - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I would like to see Emery kick Bettman’s a$$ (it doesn’t need to be Emery, a disgruntled owner or fan would do, too). This is a guy who is responsible for more lost hockey than all the fights in hockey history. Can’t the owners wise up and fire him?

  23. jkulha86 - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    But turning a hockey game into a complete circus is ok? Not just Emery, but the Flyers as a whole. That game was a disgrace to hockey.

    • President Charles Logan - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      wah wah , go watch tennis you whiner

    • kastout11 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      It happens all the time. I did not see everyone complaining a few years ago, when the Penguins had a free for all against the Flyers. It happens, not necessarily the goalies. Just look at Scott for Buffalo or all the intentional head shots trying to ruin guys careers. This was a few one on one scraps. All the poor Capitals are ok. The Flyers are the only team that sustained injuries during the fights.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      That game is why trolls who want all fighting banned from hockey still have ammunition.

  24. fivehole1962 - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    New rule: Goaltenders crossing center ice to engage in a fight with another player will result in an automatic game misconduct and subject to review for supplemental disciplinary action.

    And as mentioned earlier: All fighting majors subject to further review.

    • President Charles Logan - Nov 4, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      New rule, whiney little Liberal modern day soccer mom fans like yourself should invest more time and $$ into the Golf Channel

      • nicknyhc - Nov 4, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        It really blows my mind that people are THIS upset over two grown men fighting each other during a hockey game.

        I really hope its mostly butt hurt Caps fans whining.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      All fighting majors being subject to further review would be good. But sadly that makes sense. Why would Gary Bettman ever do something that actually makes sense?

    • hazlydose - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      It would be funny to watch two goaltenders skate right up to the red line and try to goad the other one to cross it for a fight.

  25. mattyo99 - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Caps fans whinny, that’s funny. Considering super goon/agatater Dale Hunter made a career outta this sorta stuff. They only reason it’s a big deal, because sports and hockey especially are being pussified, to protect the weaker players. The NHL is turning into a European-style game, it’s a joke. Flyers were getting whooped 7-0, and Ward celebrated that 7th goal like a jerk off, running up the scoreboard, flyers had to take action. It worked, following night they(Emery) got a shutout vs NJD, a team they really hav’nt beat in almost 2yrs.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Yeah mattyo99, why don’t we go back to the good old days when players didn’t wear helmets? Helmets are for pussies. Concussions and permanent brain damage are for REAL MEN!

  26. kastout11 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Fighting is part of the game. I don’t think the intent was to injure Holtby. Hopefully, this sparks the fire for the Flyers. Although their next game was against the Devils, they did shut them out 1-0. Maybe this brings the team closer together. Although, the Flyers are the team that suffered injuries against the Caps due to fighting. Vinny was out Saturday and I don’t think there is a timetable for Downie.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      What Emery did wasn’t fighting. That was straight up goonery.

      And maybe Downie should stop challenging guys who he knows he has no chance of beating up to fights. I thought he would have learned his lesson after Chara kicked his butt with a dislocated finger. Apparently not. Vincent’s injury was unfortunate, but he was the instigator so I can’t really feel that bad for him.

    • flavadave10 - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      Also, I’d like to note that Vinny wouldn’t have gotten injured if Emery didn’t charge Holtby. So yeah.

  27. bleedingteal4life - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    If a goalie is going to skate that far down the ice, best believe he is going to make it worth his time/effort!

  28. ralphwilsonisrich - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    When a dude dies on the ice one day you won’t be laughing.It’s coming fans

  29. freefall0303 - Nov 7, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Hmmmm…. Braden Holtby skates length of the ice to go after an unwilling and backing away Emery – then throws punch after punch at him as Emery continues to back away. In that hypothetical situation…. wouldn’t we now be witnessing a discussion about an obvious “hate crime”?

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