The NHL Rulebook and CBA Don’t Allow for Ray Emery’s Suspension? Let’s Read Together…

The talking heads talk and everyone listens. But does anyone actually bother reading the rule book?

I read on Twitter and throughout the Internet that the NHL and its Commissioner Gary Bettman simply do not have the discretion to suspend Ray Emery for his willful assault on Braden Holtby. Here is the video.

Oh really?

I am no expert on the Rulebook and I sure as hell have not read the entire CBA. But I can read and analyze.

Let’s do so together, shall we? Take a close look at the underline / italicized portions.

Rule 21 – Match Penalties

21.1 Match Penalty – A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately.

A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.

27.6 Leaving Goal Crease – A minor penalty shall be imposed on a goalkeeper who leaves the immediate vicinity of his crease during an altercation. In addition, he shall be subject to a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) and this incident shall be reported to the Commissioner for such further disciplinary action as may be required. However, should the altercation occur in or near the goalkeeper’s crease, the Referee should direct the goalkeeper to a neutral location and not assess a penalty for leaving the immediate vicinity of the goal crease. Equally, if the goalkeeper is legitimately outside the immediate vicinity of the goal crease for the purpose of proceeding to the players’ bench to be substituted for an extra attacker, and he subsequently becomes involved in an altercation, the minor penalty for leaving the crease would not be assessed.

Rule 28 – Supplementary Discipline

28.1 Supplementary Discipline In addition to the automatic fines and suspensions imposed under these rules, the Commissioner may, at his discretion, investigate any incident that occurs in connection with any Pre-season, Exhibition, League or Playoff game and may assess additional fines and/or suspensions for any offense committed during the course of a game or any aftermath thereof by a player, goalkeeper, Trainer, Manager, Coach or non-playing Club personnel or Club executive, whether or not such offense has been penalized by the Referee.

If an investigation is requested by a Club or by the League on its own initiative, it must be initiated within twenty-four (24) hours following the completion of the game in which the incident occurred.

46.2 Aggressor – The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.

A player must be deemed the aggressor when he has clearly won the fight but he continues throwing and landing punches in a further attempt to inflict punishment and/or injury on his opponent who is no longer in a position to defend himself.

A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.

A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation will have this recorded as an aggressor of an altercation for statistical and suspension purposes.

A player who is deemed to be both the instigator and aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, a ten-minute misconduct (instigator) and a game misconduct penalty (aggressor).

From the CBA

18.1 Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct. “Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct” means any supplementary discipline imposed by the Commissioner or his designee for Player conduct either on the ice or in the Player or penalty bench areas vis-à-vis other participants in the game (i.e., other Players, coaches or on-ice officials) in violation of the League Playing Rules. Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct may take the form of a fine or a suspension. Notwithstanding anything stated in Article 17 (Grievances) of this Agreement, all incidents involving review by the League (i.e., the Commissioner or his designee) for Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct will be processed in accordance with this Article.

18.2 General. It is the parties’ intention to impose Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct in a swift, effective and consistent manner with respect to conduct proscribed by League Playing Rules, including the use of excessive and unnecessary force and reckless acts resulting in injury. In doing so, however, the parties do not intend to alter the basic fabric of our game. In deciding on Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct, the following factors will be taken into account:

(a) The type of conduct involved: conduct in violation of League Playing Rules, and whether the conduct is intentional or reckless, and involves the use of excessive and unnecessary force. Players are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

(b) Injury to the opposing Player(s) involved in the incident.

(c) The status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct. Players who repeatedly violate League Playing Rules will be more severely punished for each new violation.

(d) The situation of the game in which the incident occurred, for example: late in the game, lopsided score, prior events in the game.

(e) Such other factors as may be appropriate in the circumstances.

So, what does this tell me?

The NHL and its Commissioner have the discretion to suspend Ray Emery.

What does it also tell me?

They just didn’t want to do so.

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7 replies

  1. I don’t mind the aggressive part of hockey-fighting (I know, I’m uncivilized), but this singular engagement bothered me as well. Not only should they consider punishment for Emery, but where the hell was the ref? He was just standing there watching the drubbing like it was an evenly matched bout. Would it be unfair to fine/punish the zebra?

    • I completely agree with Bobby Scribe and Kingnation13. When the Referee realized that he would have great difficulty stopping Emery’s assault on Holtby, he just decided that he didn’t want to wrinkle his jersey. He just stepped back to watch Emery beat the crap out of an unwilling victim. That is inexcusable!! I know he’s not a Linesman, but he still has an equal responsibility for maintaining discipline on the ice. There are only two Linesmen. If there are more fights, the Referees need to step in. The NHL DOES have video, which they can review for any possible disciplinary measures that might be missed by the Referees. So, the Referees should be required by the NHL to lend a hand, physically, when the situation requires it.

      I enjoy a good fight by two willing participants. I fought many times when I was young, so I completely understand how increased adrenaline can cause colorful comments, which will in turn lead to a fight. BUT … Holtby, obviously, wanted no part of a fight. When Emery continued to attack Holtby after he was unable to defend himself, it became an assault on Holtby. Personally, I feel that ANY assault should be followed by stiff fines and suspensions. It is my belief that if Holtby had sustained serious injury, he could file charges of assault against Emery. And it wouldn’t be out of line for him to do this.

      That assault was disgusting! How many times have we seen honorable fighters drop an opponent to the ice and then stop hitting them, because they aren’t able to fight back?! We see this happen quite frequently in the NHL. Honorable men will not continue to hit a man when he can no longer fight back. We aren’t talking about someone who is being attacked on the street by a man with a weapon! In that case, you would continue to hurt the man until he can no longer hurt you. To ease up on that kind of attack could mean your death. This is not the case in a hockey fight!

      Let’s see the NHL stand for what is right and honorable. To do anything less shows that we have poor leadership at the top.

  2. Sitting in Section 111 Row 19. Will be wearing either my Kings throwback Forum Blue and Gold #21 no name on the back, or my CSKA Alexander Frolov autographed jersey.
    Shouid be down at the glass for warm ups to take some pictures Vey.

    BTW here comes the BOOM and goodbye Holmgren!


  3. I always liked Emery. Again, he played for my hometown Soo Greyhounds. And, I was glad to see him get back to playing after his hip issues. But, man oh man, was this ever a dirtbag move. There was no reason at all for him to race down the ice and attack Holtby. He was just pissed that the Flyers were sucking balls last night.

    The league dropped the ball on this one. Emery should be sitting for 10 games minimum and the Flyers should be paying a big-ass fine for it too.

  4. Thanks for this one. How they didn’t decide to pursue supplemental discipline on Emery through the match penalty is beyond me – until I realized they “just didn’t want to do so” as you very succinctly stated.

    The worst part is that the media at large just bought the league’s explanation without question.

  5. it recalls that bit a few years back with violent drunkard Paddy Roy’s kid, who took daddy’s encouragement to go beat on an unwilling goalie in some junior game. ended up copping a plea deal on some assault charge in such a manner as to not get stuck with visa/travel restrictions, so he could pursue his singing career. wonder how that’s going for him. somehow I envision him back in the klink after pops showed up to a gig, when he then had to break a bottle over the sound guy’s head to keep the Big Man entertained.


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