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.
Last year it was the Stanley Cup, this time — fourth.
One year after predicting that Philadelphia would hoist the Cup, which despite early laughs was strangely on the mark, The Hockey News’ prediction for the 2010-11 season has the Flyers landing fourth in the Eastern Conference.
According to the THN print edition (the online edition is releasing one ranking per day), standing in the way of the Orange and Black is Boston (3rd), Pittsburgh (2nd) and Washington (1st). The rankings would have the Penguins beating the Flyers out for the Atlantic Division title and would set the Flyers up with a first-round playoff rematch against the New Jersey Devils (5th).
The rankings also have the New York Islanders and New York Rangers both missing the playoffs and hanging in lottery draft pick territory.
In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks were selected by THN to win the Cup, followed by San Jose (2nd), Detroit (3rd), Chicago (4th) and Los Angeles (5th).
On Monday, arbitrator Richard Bloch made the ground-breaking ruling to uphold the NHL’s right to abolish Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million deal with the New Jersey Devils, based on the grounds that the deal was created to circumvent the salary cap.
But as the official news spread, general managers around the league began to tremble, because this ruling didn’t just set a precedent for future deals — it could even change the past. For not only did Bloch tear apart the Kovalchuk deal, he mentioned, by name, the deals for Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, Boston’s Marc Savard, Chicago’s Marian Hossa and Philly’s Chris Pronger, as example of infraction.
“While the contracts have, in fact, been registered, their structure has not escaped League notice: those SPCs [standard player’s contracts] are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration.”
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.