The Flyers will be without their top scorer as they try to stay alive in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With the Orange and Black trailing New Jersey 3-1 in the series, Claude Giroux was suspended by the NHL Monday for his hit to the head of Devils’ forward Dainius Zubrus late in the second period of Game 4 of the Flyers 3-2 loss Sunday.
For his part Giroux said he isn't a dirty player and had no intention of hitting Zubrus in the head. But that didn't keep the Flyers best player from a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Monday morning.
Around 3 p.m. the Flyers tweeted the bad news:
BREAKING NEWS: Claude Giroux was given a 1 game suspension by the NHL for a hit on Dainius Zubrus during the 2nd period of last night’s game
The move wasn't terribly surprising considering the recent awareness around sports about protecting athletes against concussions. Giroux himself missed about 10 days earlier this season after suffering a concussion.
But, since Zubrus appeared to be OK, and Giroux didn't leave his feet during the hit there were huge doubts over whether Giroux would be forced to sit out.
In his explanation on why Giroux was suspended, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan explained that since Giroux pushed his shoulder up towards Zubrus' head and since Zubrus' head was pushed sideways by Giroux's "reckless" late hit that discipline was in order.
Here is Rule 48 that Giroux broke, according to Shanahan:
A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head, where the head is targeted and the the principal point of contact, is not permitted.
"This reckless picking of the head rises to the level of supplemental discipline," Shanahan said.
Shanahan also said that Giroux having no previous history of discipline played into the suspension being limited to a single game.
The Flyers will play, without Giroux, Tuesday night as they try to stay alive in the best-of-seven series.
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