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.”