NHL Playoffs 2012: Why Claude Giroux Should Not Have Been Suspended for Game 5

Patrick BrittonAnalyst IMay 8, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 06:  Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates 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

On May 7, one day after his hit on Devils defenseman Dainius Zubrus, Claude Giroux was notified that he would be suspended for Game 5 of the NHL Playoffs. While this might’ve been a fair ruling for a hit to the head of that caliber, Giroux’s hit was unintentional and he does not have a history of dirty hits.

The main problem I have with this hit is consistency. Earlier in the playoffs, Predators defenseman Shea Weber took the head of Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg and slammed it into the glass. This intentional hit got Weber only a $2500 fine from Brendan Shanahan.

While Giroux’s right shoulder hit Dainius Zubrus, he had already skated past the defenseman and didn’t even know where he hit him. While the hit was late, Giroux was just trying to finish off his check.

Weber on the other hand blatantly targeted his opponent's head with intent to injure. If Weber is only given a small fine it seems ludicrous to give Giroux a suspension for that hit.

Since Giroux is Philly’s most talented player, the Flyers will find it tough to win Game 5 down 3-1 in the series. They don’t have any momentum and losing Giroux only makes it worse. Unless a veteran like Jaromir Jagr or Scott Hartnell steps up, a very talented Philly team may be gone in Round 2.

Philly may have turned around the entire series with Giroux in the lineup especially with Game 5 being played at home. This is a ruling that could greatly change the outcome of the rest of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.

You can watch the video of Giroux’s hit here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLVsiQzQ-E