Normally, Sept. 28 must be a joyous day for Philadelphia Flyers winger Tom Sestito. Barring religious limitations, it’s likely that this day has been full of cake and presents and good old-fashioned fun during his first 23 birthdays.
His 24th might not be quite as spirited (although there might be cake, too). CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker reports that the NHL suspended Sestito for the remainder of the preseason and two regular season games for a hit from behind on New York Rangers forward Andre Deveaux. Some might call the punishment surprisingly “light” – Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that it was worse than Jody Shelley’s hit, although he might be a little biased – but it’s important to note that Sestito isn’t a repeat offender.
One might argue that at this point, every new suspension sheds a little more light on Shanahan’s decision-making process. (James Wisniewski’s suspension showed that an actual contributor can get a stiff punishment, for example.) This one is interesting, though, because it shows that sheriff Shanahan will clearly pick on people with a rap sheet far more than those with a clean record.
To compound an already trying day for Sestito, the Flyers put him on waivers. Chances are he’ll be back in the AHL soon enough, which might force the minor league to consider his NHL suspension. Who knows if he’ll get many other opportunities at the NHL level in the future, but hopefully he learns from this mistake, because he’s certainly paying for it.
We’ll update this post in the likely event that Shanahan will release an explanatory video.
Update (6:45 pm ET): The suspension might cost Sestito $5,945.94 – although that gets a little tricky since he might not play those NHL games anyway. Here’s that video we were talking about.