Jody Shelley

Jody Shelley could be facing suspension after brutal hit from behind on Darryl Boyce

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The NHL’s new league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan is already looking at getting his first test of how he’s going to rule in his new job. While his predecessor Colin Campbell ruled inconsistently, Shanahan will have a heck of a first trial to clean up the league.

During last night’s preseason game between Philadelphia and Toronto, Flyers enforcer Jody Shelley recklessly hit Maple Leafs forward Darryl Boyce from behind into the end boards putting Boyce down on the ice and out of the game for a good part of the game before returning. Shelley was then fought and beat up by Leafs enforcer Jay Rosehill in the wake of the hit. You can see video of the hit here on YouTube.

After the game, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker what he saw of the play.

“I haven’t had the chance to take it back and look at it again,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Jody typically tries to play an honest game out there, so I’m not sure where we’ll go from there. The league’s looking at incidents, so the fact that there was a call and a game misconduct, I’m sure it’ll get looked at. But hopefully nothing will happen. He’s a fairly honest player.”

Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi got the Leafs side of things. Darryl Boyce didn’t find the hit to be very legal. Meanwhile, Rosehill spoke well of Shelley in spite of the hit.

“You know, I don’t know him as being a dirty player,” Rosehill said. “I have never played against him where I had to do something like that.”

Obviously he felt he had to do react to the hit.

“The fact is whether it was a dirty hit or not, a guy on my line went down,” Rosehill said. “With our team, guys like that are going to have to answer to somebody.”

Shelley was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and received a game misconduct but most importantly, this his third instance of hitting from behind in just the last couple years as Shelley was suspended twice just last year. Making the timing worse for Shelley is that Shanahan released a video on Wednesday demonstrating new points of emphasis in regards to boarding.

With Shelley’s record from last season with a pair of suspensions for similar plays and now this horribly dangerous hit, reckless play deserves stiff punishment and Shanahan has the opportunity to set the example for the rest of the league that there is indeed a new sheriff in town and he means business.

Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings

Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.

Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).

“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”

Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).

Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.

Elsewhere…

Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.

Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

Pietrangelo-Coyle
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Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

Update:

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

“I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

Vigneault felt the hit was late.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

Beleskey was not suspended.

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse