Gary Bettman says NHL will consider changing rulebook following Ray Emery fight

Bruce Bennett

The NHL commissioner said the league was not happy with the incident on Friday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Columbus Dispatch on Saturday that an incident during the line brawl between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers on Friday has caused the league to consider making changes to the NHL rulebook.

The incident in question occurred when Flyers goalie Ray Emery charged down the ice and attacked Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Emery clearly caught Holtby off guard, and the fight quickly turned into something resembling an assault. Emery admitted after the game that he attacked the Caps netminder even though Holtby said didn't want to fight.

Emery was not punished by the league, essentially because the NHL rulebook doesn't account for that specific situation. Bettman, who was in Columbus to announce the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, acknowledged that the NHL was not happy with the incident and indicated the league is considering changing the rulebook at the next general managers meeting.

"We constantly monitor and look at the game," Bettman said. "There was no rule that was violated to elevate things to the level of a suspension. It's something we'll continue to discuss.

"I don't think anybody liked it, liked what it looked like. Fortunately it's not something that happens very often. But I'm sure it's something we'll focus on, particularly with the general managers."

Bettman also addressed the rise in player suspensions this season across the league. In one month, the NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended four players for a total of 22 games for illegal hits. Bettman called the rise in suspensions and rule changes an attempt at "effectuating a change" in how the game is played across the NHL.

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