NHL Playoffs 2012: Claude Giroux's Suspension Shows Shanahan Has Lost Control

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IMay 7, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 06: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers speaks with the ref from the penalty box during the game against the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 6, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Flyers 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

ESPN reported Tuesday that NHL vice president Brendan Shanahan has decided to suspend Philadelphia's Claude Giroux for one game following Giroux's hit on Danius Zubrus of the New Jersey Devils in Game 4.

Already trailing 3-1 in the series, the Flyers will now face elimination in Game 5 without their leading scorer.

See the video of Giroux's hit here. While he did make contact with Zubrus' head, he did not knock the Devils winger out of the game. Giroux's feet did not leave the ice, making the claim that he intended to injure Zubrus very shaky.

What this suspension shows more than anything is that Brendan Shanahan has lost control of these playoffs.

Shanahan, the head disciplinarian of the NHL, is in charge of handing out fines and suspensions. But the way he administers punishment doesn't always seem fair or consistent.

For this blatant attempt to punch Henrik Zetterberg's head through the glass, Shea Weber only received a fine. Was Giroux's hit worse than Weber's punch? I don't think that question even needs to be asked.

And for these two ridiculous cheap shots, James Neal got just a one-game suspension. Neal had a blatantly high, late shot on Sean Couturier, then immediately skated down the ice and took a full-speed run at Giroux's head.

Was Giroux's hit on the same level as Neal's back-to-back cheap shots? Again, I think the answer is pretty obvious. 

These playoffs have been crazy so far, with multiple series setting penalty-minute records. The players have no mercy, and Shanahan has done an abysmal job of keeping things level. He shows no consistency with his decisions, gives weak reasoning for his actions and maintains no ruling presence over the players.

If Shanahan still has this job next season, the NHL should be ashamed of itself. The game gets more violent every year.  If someone as flaky as Shanahan is in charge of keeping it safe, there is no telling what may happen down the road.