Emery: 'I think it's harsh'

Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery was suspended by the NHL for three games for his slash to the head...

Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery was suspended by the NHL for three games for his slash to the head of Montreal Canadiens winger Maxim Lapierre on Saturday. (Sun Media/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

The Senators were seeing red yesterday after the NHL decided to stick it to their No. 1 goaltender.

Right in the heat of a playoff race, Ray Emery has been slapped with a three-game suspension for a slash to the head of Canadiens winger Maxim Lapierre during Saturday's 5-3 win in Montreal.

The suspension means Martin Gerber will take over goaltending duties for the Senators' homestand at Scotiabank Place, which begins tomorrow night vs. Florida. Emery won't be eligible to return until Feb. 22 against the Buffalo Sabres. He will also forfeit $14,839.56 in salary.

Naturally, the Senators weren't happy with the decision by NHL VP Colin Campbell. Emery called it too harsh, coach Bryan Murray claimed the NHL's disciplinarian had been influenced by the Montreal media and winger Dany Heatley took serious issue with it.

"I don't agree with it at all," said Heatley following a one-hour workout at Scotiabank Place. "I think it was totally accidental. (Emery) just kind of swiped to try and protect himself from the traffic in front of the net and accidentally hit the guy who was falling and leaning with his face and hit him with his stick. It doesn't look that bad to me."

The incident came at 7:52 of the second at the Bell Centre, after Lapierre slammed into Emery while driving to the net. On his knees, Emery swung his stick and struck the helmet of Lapierre, who might have been seriously injured had he not been wearing a visor. But Emery is also fortunate he isn't a repeat offender, and restrained himself from dropping the gloves.

"I do think it's harsh," said Emery. "I talked to Colin Campbell and I told him I realized I made a mistake and that I didn't intend to hurt anyone and I was glad that I didn't hurt anyone. I think three games is a bit much and I'm disappointed that I won't get a chance to play for a little while.

"The two games, (the Habs) made an effort to bump me or kick my feet out, whatever they could, as much as they could to get me off my game and I was stupid enough to let it work. It's frustrating. There were some non-calls. I made a mistake and I am paying for it."

Murray was equally frustrated.

"I don't think you should allow another guy to hit a guy with a hockey stick up high," said Murray. "I know (Emery) was lying on his stomach. I know Lapierre fell into him after being hit well in front of the net. He attempted to make sure he made contact with the goaltender and (Emery) reacted. I understand the league's position, but it has to be -- and it is -- pretty frustrating when it happens several times in the game and there's not a player penalized.

"Do I think it's fair? He's my goaltender and I obviously don't think it's fair. I also understand when you're the guy in charge of discipline in this league, you react to a lot of things and I'm sure that there was comments coming out of another city (Montreal) by staff and media that put some pressure on (Campbell) to do something."

Even Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau, who called for a suspension, was surprised the league came down hard on Emery.

"One game would have been enough for me, but it shows that we were right to consider the hit an attempt to injure," said Carbonneau.


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