There are plenty of analogies that can be applied to the Philadelphia Flyers’ shameful outburst of violence with the Washington Capitals on Friday. In this case, I can’t help but interject a little bit of personal exacerbation into the situation, as this stuff is already getting tiresome.
Think of the NHL as a wildly inconsistent landlord.
Sure, they’ll do the baseline things like keeping the lights on (announcing All-Star games), yet when it comes to divisive decisions, it all seems pretty arbitrary. The punishment comes hard and severe if people leave their trash out (Sean Avery getting hugely suspended for a crass joke) but the bare minimum will be done about a neighbor’s dog endlessly yapping/a perpetual car alarm going off at 3 a.m. on a work day (the league turning a blind eye to shameful violence because of loopholes). Having your problems addressed seems to come down to sheer luck.
(Consider Gary Bettman acting powerless yet talking about “not liking what it looked like” is the equivalent to a toothless, apartment-wide memo.)
Anyway, you can make as many strained analogies as you want - probably much better than my apartment maintenance one, I’ll admit it - but the thing that tells me the most about how much room the league and Philadelphia has to improve is this troubling nugget:
Ray Emery was named the third star of Friday’s game. He allowed four goals on just 15 shots in less than 23 minutes of action, so there's no denying the glorifying and/or trolling message that was being sent by claiming it was about how well he stopped pucks. It was an embarrassing pat on the back that more or less highlights Philly’s “brand” of bullying.
Now, guess what punishment Emery received for forcing Braden Holtby into a fight he didn’t want and then continued to assault (sorry, “fight”) Holtby well after he clearly already won the “fight”?
Emery started for the Flyers the next day against New Jersey and cruised to a 14-save shutout. Fantastic.
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So, what do you do about that dog that won’t stop yapping? Well, if you’re like me, you:
2. Come close to raising a big stink.
3. Either move on or move out. (Noise canceling headphones aren’t just for crying babies in airplanes, after all.)
Ultimately, you just have to roll with the punches (and hope that you’re a little luckier than Holtby was when it comes to rolling with said punches). Let me start off with the biggest haymakers fantasy owners must attempt to shake off after what seemed like an especially grim weekend of hockey:
You know, it’s a bummer that Emery took on a villain vibe this weekend, because his story’s been largely inspirational and/or entertaining. After all, it’s tough to top the tale of “Guy who came back from the hip injury that ruined Bo Jackson, put up a crazy save percentage in 2012-13 and also apparently ate a bug in the Ottawa Senators for $500 locker room once.”
Personal feelings aside, it’s undeniable that Emery became more relevant in Philly. Emery likely gained some cult stats in Cream Cheese City for the fisticuffs and probably earned some favor with Craig Berube with that cakewalk shutout. He’s been terrible so far this season, so one couldn’t imagine a much better weekend when it comes to encroaching on Steve Mason’s territory.
I’m not sure that makes Emery worth adding, but he’s a no-brainer for the watch list.
As far as Braden Holtby goes, I’m worried that the Washington Capitals might be downplaying his injury situation. That doesn’t mean I’d drop him now by any means, but he might miss some time (Michal Neuvirth played on Saturday, though one could explain that away by back-to-back games anyway). So, naturally, keep an eye on updates.
Remember when there was a worrisome amount of stories about players getting carted off on stretchers? Well, the sad word of this weekend was “lacerated.”
In an event that reminded many of Matt Cooke’s unfortunate cut on Erik Karlsson, Dave Bolland suffered lacerations thanks to what was likely an accidentally placed Zack Kassian skate (Kassian might need to be called “The Center Depth Killer” considering he also knocked Sam Gagner out of action). That seemed plenty accidental to me, but it’s a brutal blow to the Buds, especially with Tyler Bozak placed on the LTIR. It’s awful news for just about anyone … except Nazem Kadri owners. They’re probably delighted.
Jon Merrill doesn’t have anywhere near the fantasy value - Sunday was his first NHL game - but it’s still disturbing that he suffered a lacerated leg the next day. This capped an absolutely awful weekend for the New Jersey Devils as a) Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac missed both games b) Peter Harrold is missing quite a bit of time and c) the Devils were shut out on consecutive nights. Brutal.
FLYERS’ OWN MEDICINE = BITTER
Well, the NHL didn’t dole out justice to the Flyers for Friday, but karma or coincidence seemed to do the job.
Steve Downie was on the wrong end of a fight and is now quite possibly worth dropping, even if you have open IR slots. He spent two evenings in the hospital with a concussion (and what may or may not be a broken orbital bone). Even if he comes back soon, will he be less likely to pile up PIMs considering his health risks? I’d be worried. Regardless, Downie’s out indefinitely. There’s a lot of uncertainty in general.
Vincent Lecavalier is also - at least briefly - on the shelf with a facial contusion. It’s believed he might play on Tuesday, but we shall see. Vinny probably endeared himself to Philly fans, but considering his promising-in-healthy-moments work so far, you’d think he might practice a little more discretion in the future.
Anyway, at least Philly faces some (indirect) consequences for those stomach-churning actions. Don’t expect them to learn a “lesson,” though, as that would involve acknowledging that they did anything wrong.
Is Reto Berra for real? It’s very difficult to tell, but Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley said he’d get plenty of opportunities before Berra stopped 42 out of Chicago’s 44 shots in a stunning win … Josh Harding won his fourth game in a row and already has two shutouts this season. Hard for the Wild to deny him if he can stay healthy … Tyler Seguin is hilariously bad at faceoffs. He went 1-13 on Sunday … After going pointless in his first Islanders game, Thomas Vanek has three in three contests after scoring two points (including his first goal) on Saturday and an assist on Friday. Looks like it's still a great situation for the pending UFA ... Keep an eye on Carl Hagelin. He's looking pretty good in his return from injury and could become a more relevant fantasy option if Alain Vigneault ends up liking him more than John Tortorella did. Derek Stepan's hat trick is a great sign for the Blueshirts, too, obviously ... Logan Couture (10 SOG) and Alexander Edler (12 SOG) somehow managed not to score on heavy attempt contests ... Broken record time: the Preds are risking points by sticking with Carter Hutton. Just my opinion ... Dan Boyle claims he's not right, but his goal and six SOG in a return seem to argue differently ... Kyle Okposo (five assists) and Nino Niederreiter (one goal, three assists) were among the most successful players of the weekend. Both drafted by the Islanders, too.
INJURIES (full list)
Is it too early to worry about Alex Ovechkin’s upper-body injury? I’m already there … It at least looks like Craig Anderson dodged a bullet on Sunday, as a scary collision seemingly only ended up causing a stiff neck. Keep an eye on that … Alex Tanguay is dealing with a lower-body injury ... Again, the Devils are really banged up. They're lucky they're off until Thursday ... Kris Versteeg was a healthy scratch for the Panthers, which is one of the more interesting things Florida has done that didn't involve Krys Barch offering his tooth to a fan … Richard Bachman is struggling with a groin injury and the Oilers are struggling with accepting life as the Oilers ... Jeff Carter is on the IR with a foot injury while Jarret Stoll is day-to-day with a foot injury ... Sounds like Charlie Coyle (undisclosed) is hurt again. Uh oh ... Carter Ashton received a two-game suspension for boarding.