The Flyers officially announced on Wednesday that forward Jody Shelley has received a two-game suspension for his punch to Vancouver Canucks defenseman Andrew Alberts on Tuesday.
With just over seven minutes left to play in the game with Vancouver easily leading 6-1, Shelley and Alberts came together after a whistle. With bodies between them, Shelley dropped his gloves and quickly came over the top with a sucker punch to the face of Alberts, which caused the former Flyer to hit the ground immediately.
The Philly enforcer received a game misconduct and match penalty, which is automatically reviewed by the league.
But what makes this ruling by the NHL’s disciplinary office curious, is that an extremely similar play happened to Boston Bruins’ leading goal scorer Milan Lucic on Dec. 23, when, wrapped up by the referee, slugged the face of Freddie Meyer, earning him the same match penalty as Shelley. However, Lucic was simply fined with no suspension.
After expressing interest in adding a blue liner before the start of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes have picked up former Bruin and Flyers’ defenseman Andrew Alberts for two years, $1.05 million cap hit.
“Andrew is a big, physical defenseman who should be just coming into his prime at the NHL level,” said Carolina GM Jim Rutherford. “He had a good year for the Flyers after suffering an injury the previous season, and should help solidify our blue line with his defensive presence.”
After being traded to the Flyers early in the 2008-09 season, the 6’5 defenseman had a good year, ranking third on the team in blocked shots with 133 and first in hits with 157. It is likely the Flyers did not want to see Alberts walk, but with Matt Carle and Randy Jones eating copious amount of cap money, the decision to let Alberts go was necessary.
With the free agent deadline just a day away, General Manager Paul Holmgren and the Flyers aren’t expected to be very active. However, with a couple players set to his the unrestricted free agent market, the team still has some loose-ends to sew up.