LONDON, Ontario _ Veteran left winger Jody Shelley, the Flyers' enforcer, was suspended by the NHL for 10 games on Thursday for his flagrant boarding hit on Darryl Boyce during Wednesday’s 4-2 exhibition loss to the visiting Toronto.
Shelley will miss the last five preseason games and the first five regular-season games. The suspension will cost him about $67,000.
“Shelley hit Boyce squarely from behind into the glass,” said Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's new discipline czar. “Boyce’s back was turned toward Shelley well before the contact, requiring that Shelley avoid or minimize the check. He did neither.”
Shanahan said Shelley’s two suspensions last season “weighed heavily” in this decision.
Reached at home, Shelley said he was expected to be penalized, but was “definitely” surprised at the length of the suspension. He added that Shanahan “set the tone in a sense” for how he will handle matters this season.
Peter Luukko, the president of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said the league was showing it was “trying to get serious” about these type of incidents. “When it’s your own player, you always think it’s wrong,” he said of the suspension’s length. “The important thing is that it’s consistent all year.”
Shelley will be permitted to practice with the team during the suspension.
“Camp is all about getting into team mode,” he said. “Now I’ll just practice and try to help out in other ways.”
Will the suspension open the door for 6-foot-5, 228-pound left winger Tom Sestito to win a spot in camp?
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The Flyers are facing Detroit Thursday at the Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. Goalie Michael Leighton got the starting assignment for the Flyers.
Thursday's game is on WIP radio, and it can be seen on the webcast shown on the Flyers' website.
Earlier Thursday, the Flyers sent smallish left winger Tomas Hyka back to his junior team in Gatineau. Hyka (5-10, 158), 18, has been impressive in camp, but he was not eligible to be signed as a free agent because he played in Europe last year. If he had played in North America, he could have been signed.
Look for the Flyers to try to select him in the 2012 draft.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at BroadStBull.
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