Jody Shelley played hockey last night. He actually had perhaps his best game as a Flyer, too. Three hits, two shots on goal, positive shot differential, nearly 10 minutes in ice time. He remarked to Lisa Hillary of CSN that playing alongside Harry Zolnierczyk and Sean Couturier made him feel young again.
That's awesome. Shelley is a good dude, even with as much crap as we give him around here. It's nothing personal -- he just makes a lot of money to do a job that we feel isn't that important anymore.
But tomorrow night, when the Flyers host the New York Islanders, there might be room for the enforcer role. Steve Staios will come to the Wells Fargo Center, and after the understandable lack of response from the Flyers following his illegal hit on Max Talbot last week, and the frustrating lack of response from the NHL on the issue, he'll likely be in the crosshairs.
This is causing some to ask the question: Should Jody Shelley play on Thursday night?
Alright, we'll bite.
Preface: If Zac Rinaldo doesn't play, Shelley's automatically going to be in the lineup by default. Well, that is unless James van Riemsdyk makes a sudden return from concussion, which is highly unlikely.
But if there's a decision to be made between Shelley and Rinaldo or Shelley and whoever, Jody Shelley should absolutely not be inserted into the lineup for the desire of extra toughness. Reasons:
- Shelley, on the fourth line likely won't match up with Staios, who plays primarily on the top defensive pairing alongside Mark Streit. You need to be on the ice at the same time as a guy if you want to exact revenge.
- There are plenty of players who can step up to Steve Staios. Wayne Simmonds, Rinaldo, Braydon Coburn, Scott Hartnell, even Max Talbot himself. None of these guys would be afraid to make Staios answer for his dirty elbow.
- Staios won't drop the gloves with Jody Shelley. It's the same "irrelevant" joke, right? Shelley is a tough guy. He can beat the living hell out of Steve Staios (who used to fight semi-frequently ... in 1998). But he doesn't get to fight him without Staios agreeing, and why in God's name would Staios agree to that? He'll skate away, just like Mike Rupp, and Shelley will either stand there or get suspended. There's nothing Shelley can do about this.
Jody Shelley's a good dude, but he can't really do much of anything when it comes to retribution tomorrow night. And despite his good game against Minnesota, Zac Rinaldo still contributes more than he does when it comes to the game of hockey. So if there's a choice between Shelley and Rinaldo (or any other forward or any other available forward in the organization, even), there's no question here. Put Jody Shelley in the press box.