A New Era in NHL Discipline: Jody Shelley Suspension Explained by Brendan Shanahan Via Video

A New Era in NHL Discipline: Jody Shelley Suspension Explained by Brendan Shanahan Via Video

When I was a young hockey fan, my daily rooting interests centered on the Flyers, as you might expect. However, as much as I wanted them to win above all other teams, I was for many years also interested in a number of players from other teams at any given time. Principal among them was Patrick Roy. He was the rookie goalie who took the NHL by storm the year I really remember first getting into hockey. Anyone who knows me well knows he's probably my favorite player of all time.

Others included, oddly enough, Jaromir Jagr when he was with Pittsburgh but before I considered them an arch rival, Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, and Brendan Shanahan, to name just a few. I always liked tough forwards who could score (not that Jagr filled the former quality, he was just amazing to watch play).

Because I admired him as a player and believed he respected both the glamorous and tough aspects of the game, I was perfectly satisfied when the NHL promoted Shanahan to the disciplinary or "player safety" position formerly held by Colin Campbell. Campbell's reign was a joke to fans and media alike, with the Wheel of Justice illustrating the NHL's manner of doling out discipline after dirty hits on the ice.

With increased scrutiny due in part to increasingly observant online and TV media, the old way wasn't going to fly anymore, and Shanny was made the new face of discipline in the league. In addition to this media scrutiny, there was medical attention to the fact that more players' careers were being shortened by the many blows to the head that can occur within a game, both legally and illegally. The league's response, admirably, is a pledge to reduce contact to the head, punish repeat offenders, and to do so as transparently as possible.

On Thursday night, we got our first taste of the progress the NHL intends to make in this regard, and to no one's surprise, one of the first men to be made an example of was a Phildelphia Flyer. Video and commentary below.

If you haven't seen our previous post containing the video of Jody Shelley boarding Darryl Boyce, check that out before going further, or just watch this video, which is the centerpiece of this post.

While it certainly could have been worse, I'm not sure I saw anyone, regardless of the team they support or work for, come out after the game saying Shelley didn't deserve a suspension for that. The league has declared its intention to legislate against and discipline exactly that time of hit and several others out of the game. You cannot hit a defenseless player into the boards from behind.

That much was obvious before the changes of the offseason. What this video shows is that the days of these decisions being made in a puzzling and often incongruous manner are over. Transparency is paramount alongside player safety in the NHL's new manifesto, and so far, despite one of the first suspension recipients being a Flyer, it's hard to be anything less than completely satisfied with what's transpired.

If a repeat offender had smeared one of our forwards' faces along the boards, we'd be calling out for both what Jay Rosehill did (beat Shelley soundly in an on-ice battle) and the league followed with—a suspension. For a moment, I was a bit surprised by the length of the suspension (the remainder of the preseason and five games of the regular season), but it makes sense to me that the league is sending it's message fast and clear. Best of all, it appears to be attempting to shed the cloak that obscured its decision-making and allowed for abuse and inconsistency.  

Perhaps that's optimistic, but this is in the very least a good first step toward putting a joke of a legal system in the past while hopefully making the league safer for its players. The NHL has posted a video commentary by its disciplinarian on its web site, for all to see and embed. We'll be watching the process closely this season to see whether it continues on the path it set foot on today. While transparency is an obvious benefit to the league's new initiative, consistency must accompany it.

Our guy got a suspension exceeding my expectations by a few games (aided of course by the fact that half of it is in the preseason), but if subsequent rulings are consistent with this one, you'll find no objection here.

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid will have to hope NBA coaches trust the process.

Embiid on Thursday was not named a starter in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler locked in the three Eastern Conference frontcourt spots. Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan rounded out the backcourt.

James (25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.1 assists) and Antetokounmpo (23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists) were locks as starters. That left Butler, Kevin Love and Embiid as the next in contention. Butler is a two-time All-Star averaging 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 36.8 minutes for the 21-22 Bulls. Love is posting 20.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 31.6 minutes per game on the Eastern Conference-leading, 29-11 Cavaliers.

The Western Conference starting spots went to Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. 

The voting was made up of fan votes (50 percent), player votes (25 percent) and media votes (25 percent). Embiid has a chance to be voted in by the NBA coaches, whose reserve selections will be announced on Jan. 26. 

Embiid would have been named a starter had the results been based on fan voting (50 percent). He finished third ahead of Love and Butler.

Embiid was in the running for a starting role during a breakout rookie season. He is averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. Even though his playing time is capped at 28 minutes, he ranks seventh among all players in scoring per 48 minutes. He is eighth overall in free throw attempts per game (7.9) and 10th in those made (6.2).

Embiid had obstacles, though, when it came to the voting: rookie status, 28-minute restriction, limited games played (29) because of his allocated workload, and the Sixers’ record.

Even though the All-Star Game highlights individual achievements, team record is often taken into consideration. The Sixers have won seven of their last nine games (see story), but still stand well below .500 at 14-26.

When it came to the players’ vote, it is hard for a rookie who hasn’t even competed against every team in the league to make a strong enough impression for another player to influence their perception of the top talent. Embiid finished outside of the top five in the players' vote, behind James, Antetokounmpo, Butler, Paul George and Kristaps Porzingis. Meanwhile, the Sixers' big man finished fifth in the media vote.

Embiid and the Sixers were very active in pushing for the fan votes. Embiid received the social media support of celebrities including Triple H, Kevin Hart and MLB MVP Mike Trout, among others. The Sixers promoted Embiid through a Shirley Temple campaign based on his favorite drink.

Embiid picked up major steam in the last week of voting. He had trailed Love by 16,028 fan votes in the second returns on Jan. 12.

He took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly's job search continues.

The beloved (sarcasm) former Eagles head coach reportedly interviewed for the Jaguars' offensive coordinator opening. However, on Wednesday night, Jacksonville announced it was retaining Nathaniel Hackett as its OC.

“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Jaguars new head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement from the team. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”

So, Kelly swung and miss twice on the Jaguars, as he reportedly interviewed for Jacksonville's head coaching job, as well.

"I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said, via CSNBayArea.com, two days after his firing as 49ers head coach. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

Kelly's decline is staggering, even if you saw it coming.

Look at this NFL coaching history ...

With Eagles in 2013: 10-6, wild-card playoff berth
With Eagles in 2014: 10-6, missed playoffs
With Eagles in 2015: 6-9, fired before final regular-season game
With 49ers in 2016: 2-14, fired after regular season

Who knows what's next for the Chipper?