Playing the ‘what if’ game with regards to the NHL draft is a time-honored tradition and hindsight is always clear as crystal. Looking back to see which team passed on Loui Eriksson, Shea Weber and Corey Crawford in favor of Dmitri Chernykh, Shawn Belle and Mike Egener, is as entertaining and heartbreaking as it is meaningless.
However, when it comes to the 2006 NHL Entry draft in Vancouver, the Flyers didn’t just make just one mistake to look back on and groan, they made three — in the same round.
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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.
The Boston Bruins may have exercised the demons of last season’s game 7 playoff collapse when they defeated the Flyers, 3-0, on Dec. 1. But with the slate now wiped clean, the Bruins aren’t expecting the same type of easy result the second time around.
“Now you’ve got a team coming back, wanting to redeem themselves and get that win back that we stole from them in their home building,” Boston coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe on Friday. “I would expect it to be a tough challenge. They’re an easy team to get up for, just like they’re going to say about us. It’s a natural rivalry that’s there and both teams are going to pull out their best.
“I expect an even bigger battle tomorrow, to be honest with you.”
Mike Richards’ physical play is getting under the skin of the Boston Bruins. In particular — Marc Savard.
“I mean, I don’t know,” said Savard about Richards after his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal game 5 home loss to the Flyers. “That’s the way he plays. It’s part of his demeanor. He’ll never change. So I don’t know.”