End of the line for Shelley?
There were several memorable moments from HBO’s month long stay with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The network’s all-access show, 24/7, provided fans a glimpse inside a world that had previously been foreign to them.
Besides all the entertaining off-ice activity, the four-part documentary also showed how the players interact with one another on the ice.
Peter Laviolette, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell all displayed that they each have a colorful way of expressing themselves when they go to work.
However, the most informative instance on the show came from an unlikely source.
During the third episode, the Flyers were playing the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Jody Shelley approached Mike Rupp and asked him for a fight to which Rupp declined.
“You're [expletive] irrelevant out here,” Rupp said to Shelley. “If you had any outcome on the game I'd [expletive] go with you. You don't. You don't.”
It sums up Shelley’s time with the Flyers fairly eloquently.
The main reason that he is a member of the Flyers is to fight and be the physical presence that polices the game.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.
On January 21st, Daniel Briere suffered a concussion in a game against the New Jersey Devils.
It is largely believed that the injury occurred on one of several occasions when Anton Volchenkov roughed up Briere. When an opponent starts messing with Briere or any other member of the team, Shelley is the one who is supposed to step in and stop it.
Instead, the only enforcing Shelley did was when he fought Eric Boulton (a player averaging seven minutes of ice time a game) in the first period.
Fighting just to fight doesn’t serve any purpose. Fighting is a way to energize the team, protect teammates or settle an altercation from the past. None of Shelley’s fights do that.
A perfect example of a meaningful fight came on January 22nd against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers gave up a quick goal and Tom Sestito decided to get into a fight with Milan Lucic (one of the Bruins top goal scorers) to energize the team.
In effect, Sestito took one of their key contributors off the ice for five minutes.
In Shelley’s case, he can’t even get guys to fight him.
On Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets, Shelley went way out of his way to try to get Mark Stuart to fight. The play had already gone to the opposite end of the rink leaving the two players alone in the middle of open ice.
Shelley kept pushing Stuart trying to get him to go; the refs saw what was happening and basically gave the players the green light.
Instead, Stuart blew him off like he wasn’t even there.
It’s unfortunate but it’s become obvious; Shelley doesn’t serve a purpose any more. He doesn’t skate particularly well, isn’t capable of moving the puck and has a total of 18 goals in 13 seasons.
With the emergence of Zac Rinaldo and the few bright moments Sestito has displayed, it leaves Shelley on the outside looking in.
While Rinaldo and Sestito won’t be scoring many goals, they are capable skaters who move fairly well for physical minded players.
Not to mention that they can actually get guys to fight.
Some were able to make the argument that Rinaldo was too small to fight the true ‘heavyweights’ of the NHL. Now with Sestito in the lineup that argument has little weight.
Players on the team like Shelley and look up to him as a veteran. In fairness to him he only wants to help the team.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t change the fact that the team is better served without him in the lineup.
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