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.

Capitals’ Tom Wilson has a discipline hearing today for interference

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The NHL’s department of player safety announced on Saturday morning that it has scheduled a disciplinary hearing with Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson as a result of his late hit on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas on Friday night.

It will be the first hearing for the department under the direction of its new leader, George Parros.

This particular incident happened early in the third period of the Blues’ 4-0 win on Friday night.

Here is a look at the entire sequence, including the fight that Wilson found himself in with Dmitri Jaskin in response to the hit.

It is clear that Wilson delivered his hit long after Thomas was in possession of the puck.

Even though Wilson always seems to be getting attention for some of his hits and physical play he has never been suspended in his career. His only punishment from the league has been in the form of two fines — one for diving/embellishment, and another for kneeing Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary during the 2015-16 playoffs.

The fact that he has a hearing for his hit would seem to indicate a suspension might be on the horizon. The only question is whether or not it will just end his preseason (the Capitals still have four more games) or if it will carry over into the regular season.

Antti Niemi had to make a save with his bare hand

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Antti Niemi made 31 saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, and 30 of them were pretty standard.

The one that wasn’t came in the third period when he lost his glove during a scramble around the net and still managed to instinctively make a save on the puck. With his bare hand.

Niemi said after the game, via the Tribune Review, that he thought the referees would stop the play after his glove came off, and when they didn’t “I just kept playing.”

You can watch the play by clicking here.

Probably not the type of thing you want to see happening because that looks like a great way to break a bone (or the entire hand) and get sidelined for extended period of time. Niemi said the officials told him there will no longer be an automatic whistle for goalies losing a glove or a blocker, but that one will remain for when they lose their helmet.

The Penguins signed Niemi to a one-year contract this summer as a replacement for Marc-Andre Fleury after they lost him in the expansion draft to the Vegas Golden Knights. Niemi is looking to rebound from a tough year in Dallas. He will serve as Matt Murray‘s backup for the season.

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.