NHL could shift stance on goalie fights

Updated: November 4, 2013, 1:37 PM ET
By Craig Custance

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville knows just how competitive Ray Emery is. The coach has seen Emery, the former Blackhawks and current Flyers goalie, stick up for teammates in the past and use that competitive fire to help the Blackhawks win games. So when Quenneville was asked whether he was surprised to see Emery skate down the ice to instigate a fight with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby on Friday night, there wasn't any hesitation in his answer.

"Not surprised at all," Quenneville, the Blackhawks' coach, said Sunday. "He probably felt it was needed and necessary. It seemed like it turned around. He pitched a shutout the next day. Good for him."

It wasn't hard to detect the admiration from Quenneville, and from a coach's perspective it's easy to see why. Emery was fed up with the losing, did something about it, and then backed it up with a 14-save shutout over the Devils on Saturday. The response from others ranged from admiration to disgust, mostly because Holtby appeared to want no part of the fight.

Some hockey observers believe it should have been broken up before it even began, and others are using this fight as an example of why hockey remains on the fringes of mainstream sports in the United States. Emery wasn't suspended for the performance, mostly because he did nothing wrong -- at least according to the current NHL rulebook. That makes it the perfect leadoff debate in this week's Next Question: Should a goalie receive an automatic suspension for leaving his crease to fight?

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