Via Puck Daddy
As hockey fans, we shouldn’t be cool with what Ray Emery did to Braden Holtby on Friday night, and in seeing the backlash to that assault, we aren’t. As a pro-fighting guy, I’m not cool with what Ray Emery did, because as much as some writers on this site belittle “The Code”, at the very least it mandates that fights should be between two willing participants and, typically, with understandable cause.
“RAY EMERY MAD, RAY EMERY SMASH” doesn't rise to that validation, obviously, which is why what happened to Holtby is something only the bastion of the rink has prevented Emery from facing criminal charges.
Holtby's not the first player to get jumped and be an unwilling participant in a fight. But Holtby didn't deliver a questionable hit. This wasn't about retribution. This was about Ray Emery attacking a guy because he figured that's what the locals wanted to see and because he's terrible without the Blackhawks' security blanket.
The most twisted aspect of this – besides the Flyers joining the Sabres as the only teams in the League that believe their draft lottery odds increase with punches landed, apparently – is that the NHL was powerless to prevent it or retroactively punish Emery for it.