There is a very solid article over at Broad Street Hockey explaining the circumstances about the hit to the head received by Dainius Zubrus and delivered by Philadelphia star forward Claude Giroux. The comments... are not so solid. While it's predictable a fan-base would support their star player, I think the outlook is a bit too rosey and wanted to present my counter-argument (respectfully), but forgot there is a 24 hour wait period to post to different teams' sites.
Follow the jump for my three point observation explaining why I think Claude sits out Game 5.
"Watch the Wheel of Justice turn! Find out what lesson you should learn!"
If you haven't already heard, there is a wonderful mock website called, appropriate to this year's NHL playoffs, the Wheel of Justice. This started with the Shea Webber attack on Henrik Zetterberg which went unpunished, and opened the floodgates to a plethora of suspendable activities in the early games of nearly every series of Round 1.
The point of the wheel is this: after Brendan Shanahan gave Webber a $2,500 pass on that vicious blow to the head, there was no longer a direct correlation between the action and the penalty. Anyone in a leadership role can tell you that rewards and punishments must be SMART
Shanahan's punishments have violated, in most cases this postseason, at least one of these bullets. Webber's fine, if translated via percentage of salary, is equal to a $15 parking ticket for a citizen making just under $100,000 in salary. Neal received no suspension because he claimed no ill-intent, Torres received 25 games because Shanahan was trying to correct the message players had already received: that it was open season on agressive hits.
I fully expect Claude Giroux is going to receive punishment beyond his 2min penalty.
- With the puck in the Devil's end, Giroux thinks Broduer has played the puck illegally. Giroux points at Marty, screams at the ref, skates backwards to keep screaming and then jabs in the air - either at the ref or to impede Volchenkov.
- Giroux then turns, enters his own defensive zone, and hits Zubrus high. Two sub points here: Giroux clearly extends his legs to elevate his own point of contact, & Zubrus (who had just been stickhandling) has been hunched over all through the nuetral zone and remains so after dumping in the puck (which is long gone by contact).
- Giroux's post game comments boil down to "It was a fast play, hockey's a fast game. I had him lined up for a hit and then he ducked down." I think this statement damns Giroux to a suspension because the evidence of reply shows Zubrus does not change his elevation at all after continuing his momentum off the dump in, Giroux was cognizant of a change in elevation relatvie to Zubrus' head, and evidence of reply shows Giroux lock his knees to "pop into" the hit.
To clarify: I don't think Giroux is a dirty player. I don't think he was trying to knock Zubrus out of the game, just onto his backside. Had Zubrus been standing still or skating upright, it would have been a solid hit and achieved just that. Since Zubes was following through on his own dumpin, however, that put his head in play and Shanahan has to give Giroux a game to be consistent on the message that "non incidental blows to the head will not be tolerated."
Giroux met on the phone with Shanahan this morning, and there should be a ruling by this afternoon. Best resources should be either Shanahan's or Tom Gulitti's twitter feed, until then feel free to sound off below.
- Does Giroux deserve to be suspended?
- Will he be?
- Should his star-player status or pending elimination game factor into the decision?
- If Giroux is not suspended, how physical would you expect the opening minutes of Game 5 to be?
Let's go Devils!