Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Never Ending Shelley Discussion

With the Jackets off to their best start in team history, and fresh off a shellacking of the Hawks 7-4 last night (nice to see the offense show up), we turn our attention to everybody's favorite enforcer: Jody Shelley.

I usually don't spend a lot of time concerning myself with Jody, he's a great guy, a great team guy, a great leader in the room, but his ice time in the big picture of the NHL is roughly the same as taking a leak in the ocean. Don't get me wrong, I believe the enforcer still has a place in the NHL, although it is a diminishing role. Jody is a victim of that as much as he is a victim of his own lack of pure hockey skills. (Not a knock on the guy, but we're not kidding anybody...he's no Curtis Glencross.)

However, it seems in various forums Jody gets more discussion time and bandwidth that he does TOI in a month. The never ending he eating a roster spot? Should he be dressed at home to satisfy his fans? Is he a dinosaur? (My answers to those are no, no, and no. Jody is at least assured of sticking around until the next Avs game...he has a date with Scott Parker, I'm sure.)

But, every so often, Jody's role gets confused. And confused in a way that makes me think to myself, "We're still an expansion city..." The latest of this comes from fellow blogger Tyler over at The Jacket Times. Tyler stated the following yesterday, which prompted my own blog entry in a counter-point kind of way...
"Shelley first seemed doomed when Tollefsen has solidified his place on the Jackets squad, but matter have only gotten worse this season with youngster Jared Boll. Boll is a scrappy winger who can score in addition to throw punches."
Here's my issue with this: Tollefsen is a hard nosed defenseman who plays the body as well as anybody on the team who happens to drop 'em on occasion. Boll is an agitator at the core, not an enforcer in any way. Sure, Jared will throw a few punches, but usually in self-defense after blasting somebody. Neither of these guys fill Jody's role. Basically, being able to fight does not make somebody the heavyweight enforcer.

There are plenty of guys on the roster who have been known to throw the gloves off...Footer, Chimera, Malhotora, and even Rick Nash has been known to chuck'em. That doesn't make any of them worthy opponents for Boogaard, Parker, or Parros.

Now, I can definitely agree with Tyler that Jody's role is diminishing, as are the three guys named above. It's almost as if coaches are now baiting other teams to dress their enforcer so they can scratch their own and basically shorten the other bench by one player.

However, a couple guys on any roster that can fight doesn't mean they're fighters. We're not better off with OKT or Boll in the box for five minutes at a time, their primary role is clearly something else.

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