Tyler J. Altemose
My good buddy/Philly Reign cohort Michael DeNicola has written an article explaining this morning's disciplinary hearing between Jody Shelley and the NHL. The meeting was scheduled due to an incident between Shelley and Boston's Adam McQuaid in Saturday's contest against the Bruins. Shelley was given a five minute major for checking McQuaid from behind. He has received a two game suspension.
Typically if I disagree with DeNicola (which, if you know the two of us, is more than likely to occur) I just let it be. We'll discuss it elsewhere, and that's usually the end of it. However, this time things are a little different.
I know that DeNicola isn't a fan of Shelley. That's no problem. I also know that he's a huge fan of Carcillo, Philly's resident "odd man out" and filler of positions for people put in Lavvy's dog house (e.g. Nikolay Zherdev).
Unfortunately to me it seems as if these elements have swayed his writing style. Instead of looking like a news article, the piece seems to be an avenue for which DeNicola has vented his frustrations about Shelley.
I bet it feels good to get all that off of your chest, doesn't it?
Anyhow, this isn't a slander about my buddy. Instead, it is simply a critique--an alternative point of view. And to be fair, this is the sort of thing we have to do every time we have news on Carcillo, as I tend to get carried away with my less-than-lofty opinion of him. So I must thank him for being the yin to my yang on that topic.
With that said, here's some yin for you, bud.
DeNicola's article, which is aptly titled "You See a Name & Number, Jody Shelley Sees a Target" (very clever), includes this account of what transpired:
"It's not like McQuaid's nameplate and number were at a questionable angle and Jody was giving him a slight nudge. Shelley's arms were fully extended just feet from the boards behind the Boston net with Adam's name and number in plain view."
I've watched the video several times. This is what I see.
I see McQuaid with about a two foot lead in the race with Shelley at the point of the Boston blue line. By the time they get to the faceoff circle to the right of Tim Thomas, it's a dead heat with McQuaid getting the inside track. Yes, there is video proof that Shelley is actually beating someone in a foot race.
By the time the players are maybe three feet from the red line McQuaid does something that no one has seemed to mention so far: he brakes. At 00:00:06 of the video you can clearly see that McQuaid's skates are perpendicular to those of Jody Shelley, still barreling in at full speed, as the players cross the red line.
It is at that point in which Shelley extends his arms, shoving McQuaid into the boards. Naturally, if your skates are perpendicular to someone else's and they shove you you're going to go flying (no pun intended).
Does this mean that the suspension isn't justified? Certainly not. I agree with DeNicola that it is indeed justified, but for much different reasons than he seems to suggest.
What I am suggesting is that this is nothing more than an unfortunate accident--that McQuaid and Shelley got tangled up in a bad spot which resulted in the former getting injured (at least temporarily).
I also think this is a matter of misguided expectations on the part of Shelley. I'm not one who believes I know what players are thinking, but because I don't think this was a matter of Shelley head hunting I've come to this conclusion: I think that Shelley expected McQuaid to keep moving.
Typically if there's a lone defenseman retrieving an iced puck they'll slow down as they touch up beyond the red line. But this case isn't typical of that situation. Here you have two players racing for the puck. If Shelley gets to it first, the play stays alive. That was his mentality, and his goal was to do just that--keep the play alive.
But that isn't what happened. Instead of skating along behind the net McQuaid stopped right in front of Shelley. Whether the extension of the arms was to shove McQuaid out of the way in a fit of frustration or simply to get him out of his path remains to be seen, but obviously the ruling carries some implicit notion of what the league saw.
In either case, Shelley has received a two game suspension. DeNicola thinks it's because he was head hunting, I think it was because Jody Shelley is Jody Shelley, and any guy with his reputation is going to be on the wrong side of the law in any sort of "unfortunate incident".
Of course, it wasn't DeNicola's opinion that bothered me. It was the fact that he had to include these gems in the article:
"I'd say I'm finished sticking up for Jody Shelley and his ridiculous contract, but I haven't had a positive thing to say about him since my transition from shorts and sandles to jeans, sneakers and a hoodie."
"I see no worth in Shelley other than to give the crowd bland fights and asinine plays such as the boarding call."
"Let's face it; Holmgren wasted more money on Jody than all of China wasted on penile enhancement drugs."
I'm of the belief that these sorts of comments are pretty unwarranted when giving news information. If you don't like Shelley just write an article about it. There's no need to save it for a time like this. Stick to the facts.
Oh, and regarding Exhibit B, I'll see your "asinine" check by Shelley from behind on McQuaid and raise you Carcillo's "genius" idea to fight Maxime Talbot in Game 6 of the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.