Ray Emery Viciously Assaults Washington Capitals Goalie, Braden Holtby

Published: Nov 02, 2013 11:06am EDT
By Lance Rinker, Managing Editor for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Nov 02, 2013 @ 11:06am EDT


The NHL has been awfully quiet regarding the assault that took place during the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers game on Friday night. I’m not talking about the huge line brawl that broke out as the Capitals were on their way to a 7-0 shutout of the Flyers. I’m talking about the unprovoked attack on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby by Flyers back-up goalie Ray Emery.

During the line-brawl Ray Emery decided it was in good taste to skate down to the Capitals end of the ice as quickly as he could and try to goad Braden Holtby into a fight. When Holtby backed away and made it clear he didn’t have any interest in fighting Emery made it clear it didn’t matter.

Emery landed more than a dozen punches, many to the back of Holtby’s head and while he was already on the ground, before referees came and broke the fight up. What’s the reward for a player assaulting another player who didn’t want to fight, was dragged to the ground, and still repeatedly punched in the back of the head?

Emery’s reward for his actions by the home-team announcers and staff was third star of the game.

That’s right folks, a goalie who allowed four goals on 15 shots and received 29 penalty minutes for his actions on the ice was rewarded.

After the game Emery had this to say about the fight.

"He didn't want a fight but I said basically protect yourself…I didn't really have much of a choice."

So Emery is saying that he didn’t really have much of a choice in attacking a player that had no interest in fighting him?

The player that made the decision to skate all the way down to the other end of the ice, attack a player that was trying to avoid fighting him, and then repeatedly punching him in the back of the head while he was already down on the ice had no choice.

That seems legit.

Now the question is was there intent to injure Braden Holtby by Ray Emery?

Intent is a fairly difficult thing to suggest seeing as how we’re not inside a player’s head at the time of certain events, but we can review video evidence, look at the history of the player, and at least try to make a reasonable determination.

Emery had a reputation in the minors of being a guy that liked to throw punches.

One of his first fights in the NHL, back in February 2007, was him skating to the opposite end of the ice, just like he did against the Capitals, and started a fight with Buffalo Sabres goalie Martin Biron. After his fight with Biron was over he then started a fight with Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters.

During the same season Emery was suspended for three games because he swung his stick and hit Montreal Canadians forward Maxim Lapierre in the face with it. Emery claimed he wasn’t trying to hit Lapierre that high with his stick and was only trying to get his attention because he wanted to fight him.

That’s right – he swung his stick at a player’s face because he wanted to fight him.

During the 2008-2009 season, when Emery was playing for Atlant Moscow because he was unable to obtain a contract from an NHL team, footage surfaced of him getting into a fight with his team’s trainer during a KHL game. The reported reason for the altercation was because Emery didn’t like being “pestered” about wearing a sponsor’s hat.

This is just the behavior from the early part of his career that has earned him the reputation and the nicknames he currently has. Whether there was true intent or not to seriously injure Braden Holtby, although video showing him pummeling him in the back of the head while he was already down on the ice seems to suggest there was intent, the NHL needs to take a long look at this because Emery has such a long history of being a fighter and an instigator.

If the NHL chooses to do nothing then they should be just as embarrassed as the Philadelphia Flyers organization should be, even though they seem to celebrate this type of classless behavior, and especially Ray Emery – his actions were not only classless but could easily be considered assault if Holtby wanted to press charges (which he won’t because it’s hockey).

One final note – there is at least one respected journalist in Philadelphia that believes Ray Emery’s actions were unnecessary. Great article by Sarah Baicker explaining her position on the brawl and how fighting belongs in hockey, but what Ray Emery did does not. 



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Lance Rinker
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