In a recent string of Philadelphia suspensions, one that includes a five-game ban for Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Flyers’ center Claude Giroux will miss Game 5 of his team’s second-round series against the New Jersey Devils. This means that Giroux will be sitting on the bench while his team stares down elimination, behind 3-1 following Sunday’s 4-2 loss in the Garden State.
With only seconds remaining in the second period, Giroux was skating back from the offensive zone when he dashed towards the puck-handling Dainius Zubrus. As soon as Zubrus moved the puck behind the net, Giroux went in for a hit and caught the Devils’ forward under the chin. Zubrus was down for some time, but got up, left under his own power, and returned later in the game.
Claude received a two-minute minor for the illegal hit.
It was clear that Giroux was looking to hit Zubrus after yet another failed fore-check, but whether he launched himself at Zubrus and/or went for his head is questionable. This leaves many fans wondering whether Shanahan’s decision was the right one.
Giroux said the following about the hit prior to receiving the one-game ban from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan:
“I was trying to finish my hit and he kind of leaned in and I kind of hit him, my shoulder to his head. My elbow was down. I didn’t jump. I’m a pretty honest player. I’m not a dirty player. I’m not out there to hurt anybody. I was just trying to finish a hit.”
This suspension leaves the Flyers without the the NHL’s postseason leader in goals (8), assists (9), power-play points (7) and total points (17). He has simply dominated these Stanley Cup Playoffs and led a potent Flyers offensive attack; his absence will make things much tougher for a team on the brink.
Please comment below with your thoughts on Giroux’s suspension and the hit itself.