In what was sure to be one of the most riveting battles for a roster spot in 50 years in the NHL, there is now a shock ending. Riley Cote, the incumbent, bench-riding brawler has retired, paving the way for the new Philadelphia Flyers enforcer, Jody Shelley, to take his place.
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Riley Cote was only with us for a few seasons, and he is one of few players that probably had more penalty minutes than ice time. His visage was an image of toughness, with his deep sockets looking like permanent black eyes. He played a key role in his AHL stint with the Phantoms, helping them win the Calder Cup in 2005. He also will hold the record for scoring the highest percentage of his goals against a single goaltender. That lucky guy: Carey Price. In Cote’s 156 NHL games, he scored 1 goal, making 100% of his scoring against the Canadiens netminder. Not a bad record to hold. Unfortunately for Riley, at a ripe old age of 28, he’s pretty much been forced into retirement. He spent most of this past season watching games from a suite. With the Flyers unlikely to need him again, he retired, rather than seeking to play elsewhere.
So now, the sprightly, younger (34 y/o) Jody Shelleybecomes the new face of Orange Crush. Sure, he probably won’t get much playing time here either, but at least he knows the job is his. And when he does get to lace the skates up in real competition, at least he’ll provide a little bit more scoring depth. He’s got 16 goals in his 500+ game career.
So Riley Cote will now follow in the footsteps of another enforcing legend, The Chief, Craig Berube, as he steps behind the bench of the Adirondack Phantoms. Berube is now with the Flyers, of course, so now it’s up to Cote to teach the Flyers of tomorrow the proper way to beat the living shit shit out of every opponent they come across.
On a more serious note, I really would like to wish Cote luck in the future. Although he was a pretty useless player, he’s a good human being. He’s very generous when it comes to autographs after practices, and since his older sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he’s been avidly raising awareness around the community. If you’re interested in donating, or finding out more about MS, click here.
Good luck Riles, we’ll miss you.
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