Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux has been suspended one game -- Tuesday's crucial Game 5 -- for his hit on the Devils' Dainius Zubrus during Sunday's Eastern Conference semifinal Game 4.
As time was winding down in the second period of a 4-2 New Jersey victory, Giroux struck Zubrus in the head with his shoulder after the Devils forward had dumped the puck in the Philadelphia zone.
It capped an angry shift which began by his protest of a non-call on Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who appeared to have clearly played a puck beyond the trapezoid behind his net.
Giroux was given a minor for an illegal check to the head for his efforts.
"After pulling even with Zubrus on the backcheck, Giroux chops down across the back of Zubrus' stick, and then well after the puck has been chipped in the corner, Giroux comes across Zubrus' body and drives upward with his shoulder making principle point of contact with Zubrus' head," said NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan in a video explanation of his decision.
"In spite of the fact that Zubrus is bent over and is in a skating posture, the positioning of his head does not significantly change before Giroux recklessly picks him. We feel this rises to the level of supplemental discipline. We have taken into consideration...Zubrus returned to the game and completed it.
It is also important to note that Giroux hasn't been fined or suspended previously during his four-year NHL career."
The Flyers star forward has put together one of the finest playoff performances in recent league history, picking up eight goals and nine assists in 10 games, but has just two goals and an assist in the conference semifinals.
Now trailing the series three games to one, Philadelphia faces a must-win situation without the player called the "engine" of the club.