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.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.