Earlier this year, Colin Campbell, then Head of the disciplinary committee for the NHL stepped down, his replacement a recently retired Brendan Shanahan. Mr. Shanahan has his work cut out for him. How do you differentiate yourself from your predecessor whose take on disciplining players has been ridiculed for so long, that a game was created to openly mock it? So Mr. Shanahan came to the fans and made a promise. He promised transparency and insight into the process. He said that you may not like what is decided, but you will know how we got there.
So enter into the scene Jody Shelley, a familiar name around here. He used to be an enforcer for the Sharks, a checking line forward that could provide some good energy and wear down the other team. I say used to be, because Doug Wilson traded him in February of 2010 to New York for a conditional 6th round draft pick. So Shelley moved east and became a goon. Toronto was playing Philadelphia on September the 21st; When Shelley threw this boarding check on Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Darryl Boyce at 12:34 in the second. An engraved invitation went out to Mr. Shanahan to prove the naysayers wrong. Prove to the League, prove to the fans, and prove to himself that he meant what he said about discipline.
Mr. Shanahan had the opportunity to drop the hammer, to set a resounding tone for the rest of the league to hear. First thing that Mr. Shanahan did was release his decision on the hit in question. I’ll share the bottom line with you:
“I’ve also taken into consideration that Boyce was injured on the play. The fact that Jody Shelley was suspended twice last season also weighed heavily on my decision. For these reasons I am suspending Jody Shelley for the remainder of the preseason and five regular season games.”
Mr. Shanahan has in fact set the tone. I would like to think the rest of the league heard it. There is a new Sheriff in town, and this isn’t the Campbell era, where fines and suspensions were given in an attempt to prove that there was discipline. This is the Shanahan era, in which we hope discipline, is not looked upon as a joke. Will this be the standard? It’s the NHL; your guess is as good as mine. The question I have is did Matt Cooke hear it?
The next time Jody Shelley gets to dress and play for the Flyers will be Thursday October 20th against Washington. So putting this into some sort of perspective, Shelley will watch his team go out onto the ice and start to develop their chemistry, their style, but most importantly their identity. Who the Philadelphia Flyers will be this season really starts at the beginning of the Season, and Shelley gets to watch it from the couch.
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