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Bettman expects ‘general discussion’ about fighting at GM meetings

Nov 11, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT

Ray Emery Getty Images

Gary Bettman confirmed today what was already expected to be a topic at tomorrow’s general managers meetings — fighting.

But don’t worry, fight fans. The commissioner doesn’t expect any major changes to be forthcoming; only that the GMs will have a “general discussion” on the subject.

One sub-topic of the “general discussion” is sure to be goalie fights. And on that, Bettman shared an interesting anecdote about Flyers goalie Ray Emery, with whom he chatted last week at the White House (where Emery’s former team, the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, were honored.)

“I said: ‘Oh, Ray. It’s good to see you. I’ve been thinking about you.’ We had a nice chat,” the commissioner said today in Toronto, per the Canadian Press. “And I said, ‘So just hypothetically, if there was a rule that said if you cross the red line to get into a fight with the other goaltender and you get a 10-game suspension, would you have done it?’ He goes, ‘What? Are you crazy?'”

That’s not to say an automatic 10-game suspension for goalies who cross the red line to fight is imminent, but it may well be discussed.

That said, Bettman suggested all this fighting talk is being blown out of proportion thanks to a couple of random incidents.

“We probably wouldn’t even be having the fighting discussion right now if there wasn’t a freak play with George Parros losing his balance and falling,” Bettman said. “Like the Emery-Holtby incident, those things don’t define the season we’re having. They’re important, we look at them, we discuss them, but they get more attention than they probably warrant in any particular case because we’re constantly monitoring the game.”

Related: ‘I hate what Ray Emery did,’ says Shanahan

  1. amityvillefun - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I wish Ray punched Bettman instead.

    • mp1131211 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Me too. It would have ended Emery’s career. Would have been way better.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Ray should have said, “I’ve been thinking about you too, and wondering how a guy keeps getting big bonuses when he blocks the Coyotes from moving, includes a poison pill that doomed to be triggered since they are still drawing 7k a game.”

  2. hockey412 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    If they are considering this “cross the line and get 10 games” rule, they need to change it to the opposing team’s blue line. That way if both goalies want to go, they can meet at center ice and the fans get a treat… but if one doesn’t, the offender/aggressor still would have to face the suspension to get to the other team’s goalie.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      that’s what I was confused about. isn’t there already a rule that says you can’t cross the blue line or you get punished (more leniently than a 10-gamer)? and goalies still fight without getting said punishment. that’s why i didn’t get what people were so mad at Emery about. worst thing it does is make a harsher punishment for something that should be punished that harshly.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        I get why they didn’t like what Emery did, but some people were mad that he was bringing about a rule change.

      • hockey412 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        There’s a minor penalty if they cross the red line and do anything but turn around and skate back where they came from, but that’s it. I’m only saying IF they are going to be handing out 10 gamers, don’t make it the red line (ie. don’t eliminate goalie fights altogether, if both goalies want to go).

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        that’s what I meant, the red line. wasn’t thinking. but the point is still there. they already have a penalty for crossing the red line that isn’t enforced when two willing combatants meet at that line. I don’t get why people think harshening the penalty for doing that is eliminating goalie fights. people were up in arms about Emery doing away with goalie fighting.

      • hockey412 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        They have a minor penalty for crossing the red line currently, not a 10 game suspension though. I’m kind of thinking it might at least cut way down on goalie fights if they are nailed with a 10 gamer instead of a 2 minute penalty.

        Here’s a better visual – instead of fighting, they give each goalie a button they can press throughout the game if they feel like fighting the other goalie. Then the game stops and each goalie is handed a jousting stick, and they start from their net and work up speed and meet at center ice. All we’ll need is the jousting sticks. And more goalies.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        lmao at that idea.

        but on the 2min penalty: I’m under the impression that they aren’t assigned that for regular, willing goalie fights (by the way, the only thing I could find in the rules was for leaving the crease during an altercation or playing the PUCK across the red line, both minors). they get the 5min major, we go back to 5on5, and that’s it. I don’t understand how making the penalty harsher for what Emery did is eliminating any real goalie fights.

  3. shortsxit34 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    The problem isn’t goalie fighting. The problem is one guy beating the crap out of an unwilling opponent that puts up no fight, then continues throwing haymakers when he’s is in a vulnerable position. Then saying, “Well, there’s no rule against it.”

    • kicksave1980 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      Agreed. I had really started to come around on Emery after his freak injury and subsequent surgery, and he was fun to watch last year in Chicago. But what he did to Holtby was a punk move and looked like the same old Emery from Ottawa. I have NO problem with fighting in the NHL, but that was ridiculous. I hope Ray felt good about himself for wearing a guy out who wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

  4. ntvd7 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I know Bettman has helped grow the game and all but….

    He isn’t a hockey guy, he isn’t “one of us” – He never will be

    Can’t the NHL find someone that understands the game the way we do???

  5. broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Commish, hypothetically speaking if you receive a 10 game suspension every time you open your mouth, would you still do it?

  6. greej1938l - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Pretty funny emerys picture is on the headline of a lot of these now hahaha

    • nj666 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      its his fault, if he hadn’t attacked holtby like an idiot these conversations wouldn’t be as frequent…

  7. muckleflugga - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM


    one would think it blatantly obvious by now, but…?

    the reason people are angry with emery is:

    a] he attacked, then pressed his attack on an unwilling opponent…no means no!

    b] he continued beating and pounding a beaten opponent, even when the opponent was left with no means of defending himself

    c] his savagery and lack of control is disturbing to everyone with any claim or pretext to civilized behaviour

    d] away from the shelter of a professional league with dependency on massive profit from nothing more than what constitutes bloodsport and blood money, he would have been incarcerated, charged with aggravated assault, and likely sent for psychiatric evaluation…here in the real world

    e] he walked away from a wholly criminal activity with no evident consequence; in their wisdom, the flyers played him in their next game if you can imagine [ how pervasive is this chronic stupidity: a women at the last flyers game held her five year old child up and bounced him joyfully so he could see another knuckle dragging spectacle unfold before a delirious crowd yet again ]


    the people in control of this sort of activity including a referee standing eight feet away, permitted emery’s bludgeoning to continue, rationalizing non-intervention by claiming he was following league ‘best practice’ protocol. has the world taken leave of its senses one is left to ask

    then, those including people responsible for the referee and the protocol itself, stuck their heads up their asses while continuing to shed responsibility…

    if that is not enough to sicken all but the criminally insane, you had don cherry and ron maclean and cbc pundits who should sure has hell know better, getting in line to smugly support the protocol that permitted the spectacle to continue. keep in mind they all belly-up to the same trough, so forget any semblance of objectivity

    yes, there is a day and an hour when all of this behaviour will come back to haunt the nhl, much as it has the nfl, you can make book on that reality. what is scarier, the actuaries have in all probability worked out cost benefit, and you can bet the league is willing to take the hit to come with profit more than offsetting loss

    those underwriting league insurers will disagree

    • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      no. that’s wrong. there were people on the first post about the 10-gamer that were also mad about Emery bringing a rule change. nj666, in particular, said “emery is to blame for this… bettman would have never come up with this consideration if it weren’t for that debacle on friday night.” What I don’t understand is why people are assigning blame to Emery. What’s coming of it? Something good. the option for a goalie to cross the red line and attack an unwilling goalie will now be out of the question. what they’re doing is pointing the finger at the guy that brought the rule about. nay, the guy that caused the harshening (making words up now) of the punishment for a rule that’s already in effect, and has NO effect on legitimate goalie fights. I don’t care that people think what Emery did was sh**ty, I do as well. But to try to tell us he’s causing the end of goalie fights is past the realm of reality.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM

        I will admit though, that the headline for that story was very very misleading: “NHL to discuss 10-game suspension for goalie fights.” Brough’s on the All Star team of getting site visits.

      • Jason Brough - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        This was the report I cited.
        Tell me what it says. Now tell me how I reported it wrong. Thanks.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        how about basing a report strictly on a misleading (possibly uninformed) tweet? Seeing as how the piece you quoted is limited to 160 characters, I’d think you might evaluate what the guy said just a bit to see how complete it is. Even in that question Bettman posed to Emery, it’s about crossing the red line, not “the zone” as was quoted in your story and Lawless’ tweet. and to say it’s for “goalie fights” in general was the part I found so misleading. there’s already a penalty for leaving your crease during an altercation, but it isn’t enforced on legit goalie fights as is. might that be the case with goalies meeting AT the red line to engage in a fight that both sides are willing to engage in? I, personally, would have assumed so.

        Maybe my problem is with basing news reports on strictly what you read in a sub-160 character message.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:41 AM

        and I didn’t say you cited it “wrong.” I said the headline was misleading. Whether it was based on a tweet or not, it’s your headline…. and it was misleading.

      • Jason Brough - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        You must enjoy really long headlines.
        “Report: NHL to discuss 10-game suspension for goalie fights but only for goalies who leave their zone to fight and if ibieiniid is reading this just click on the link because we delve into the issue a bit deeper since it’s impossible for headlines to tell the whole story just like you admit it’s impossible for a tweet to tell the whole story thanks have a nice day”

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        alright man, I really don’t want to have a full-on argument with a PHT writer that I like and read on a regular basis. and you know i don’t normally give you guys sh**. I don’t get the attitude. and I also don’t get how “NHL to discuss 10-game suspension for goalies who leave their zone to fight” would have been out of the question.

  8. gmenfan1982 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    This might be the ONLY thing I have agreed with Bettman on. Glad to hear the Commish gets that only reason is fighting debate is raging on is bc of a few random incidents.

  9. joey4id - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    If they are willing to consider suspending a goalie to cross the red line and engage in a fight with the opposing goalie, then they can at least consider requiring two pugilists to go through concussion tests after a fight. BTW, If a goalie can’t cross the red line to fight does that mean he’ll be allowed to fight the closest player on his side of the red line without being suspended?

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