September 23, 2011- The National Hockey League’s new head of discipline, Brendan Shanahan, has handed down his first set of game suspensions and the regular season has yet to start. He said when he took the job that he would work to protect players and would always explain his reasons for disciplinary action.
On Thursday, he suspended his first two players, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Jody Shelley. The two will be suspended for the remainder of the preseason as well as a combined six games to start the regular season.
Along with suspending the two, he released video that shows the reasons for the two suspensions. Philadelphia bruiser Shelley received the harshest discipline as he was suspended for the first five games of the regular season and lost over $67,000 in salary.
His suspension came following his hit from behind on Darryl Boyce of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Shanahan said Boyce’s back was to Shelley well prior to the hit and Shelley should have not hit him or at least minimized the contact, regrettably, Shanahan said he did neither. Prior suspensions Shelley received in the last eight months also weighed in on the decision.
Letourneau-Leblond, a forward with the Calgary Flames, will sit out the opening game after hitting Matt Clackson of the Vancouver Canucks also from behind. Both of the players were suspended due to the new boarding rule where players need to make sure opponents are not defenseless along the boards when they check them.