It didn't take long for us to get a test case for new discipline chief Brendan Shanahan.
Last night in Philadelphia, Jody Shelley laid an ugly hit on the Maple Leafs' Darryl Boyce into the boards, receiving a major penalty, game misconduct and cut over his eye from a Jay Rosehill punch. See the play and ensuing fight for yourself.
This comes on the heels of Shanahan sending out changes to the boarding rules to all the teams. In particular, here is what it had to say that's in play here.
This season, a boarding penalty will be assessed to a player who checks or pushes a defenseless player in a manner that causes the player to have a potentially violent and/or dangerous impact with the boards. The word "pushes" was added to the rule and "defenseless" replaced the word "vulnerable."
The onus now is going to be on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position. If he is, the player applying the hit must avoid or, at the very least, minimize the contact.
After the game Boyce talked about the hit, sporting a freshly broken nose.
“I think it was late for sure and my back was to the wall, so it definitely was not a clean hit,” Boyce said. “The game moves so fast out there that sometimes you think that it wasn’t late and it was clean. That’s just the speed of the game.”Clearly Shelley is looking at some punishment from the league. The puck was long gone from Boyce's stick and the hit seems to fit the type of play the league is trying to rid to a T. Considering Shelley doesn't have the cleanest track record, I would expect to see Shelley sit out the remainder of the preseason, at least, and have to pay a fine.
In addition to being a perfect opportunity for Shanahan to show how serious he is about eradicating these hits from the game, it's an equally good chance to help clarify the rules. They have been changing so much in recent years that nobody really knows what it legal and what's not these days.
Your move, Shanny.