If the Philadelphia Flyers are going to live to fight another day, they're going to have to find a way to win without their best player on Tuesday night.
In a fairly bold call by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, Flyers star Claude Giroux has been suspended for Game 5 for this hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus.
Giroux doesn't have a track record and Zubrus was not badly injured on the play so there was definitely the possibility of this hit being met with only a fine.
"Well after the puck has been chipped into the corner, Giroux comes across Zubrus's body and drives upward with his shoulder, making principal point of contact with Zubrus's head," Shanahan said in the suspension video. "This is a violation of the illegal check to the head rule."
What's interesting about the play is that you can see Giroux is visibly upset over what he thought was a missed call on Martin Brodeur at the other end before going after Zubrus, who has clearly gotten rid of the puck (with time winding down) before he is hit directly in the head.
"As the puck is shot past Giroux, he displays frustration at the referee and even goes to the degree of turning his back to the play to continue making his point," Shanahan said. "He then turns back to refocus on the puck, recognizes there's a turnover and begins to pursue Zubrus and delivers a late, reckless hit to the head."
It's the right call, even if it comes during a postseason where consistency has been hard to find with these decisions.
These are the type of careless and, frankly, dumb plays the NHL should be eliminating, and the only way they can do so is through hurting players and their teams by holding them out of key games.
If the Flyers are eliminated Tuesday, you have to think Giroux will have gotten the message loud and clear.Report Typo/Error