Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux will have a disciplinary hearing on Monday to discuss his hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus on Sunday night. The hit occurred just before time expired in the second period, and resulted in Giroux receiving a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head.
The immediate focus, mainly from NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, was whether or not Giroux left his feet to deliver the hit. But that is only one variable when it comes to whether or not a hit is illegal and is deserving of further punishment. The more important factors on this play were the fact the hit was delivered late, well after Zubrus had possession of the puck, and that it also targeted the head and had obvious contact with the head.
Zubrus initially remained on the ice, but was eventually able to skate off on his own and return to the game. He actually scored an empty net goal in the final minute of regulation to help put the finishing touches on New Jersey's 4-2 win, which gave them a 3-1 series lead. He also scored the game-winning goal just minutes before Giroux hit him.
After the game Giroux said he isn't a dirty player and was simply trying to finish his check.
Just because Giroux has a hearing scheduled doesn't mean a suspension, or even a fine, is guaranteed. Whether it's right or wrong, the result of the hit (injury) plays a role into the league's decision-making on matters like this, and as noted above, Zubrus was not injured as a result of the play.
Giroux also has no history of suspensions.
If he is suspended for Game 5, that is obviously a huge blow to the Flyers as they try to fight off elimination. They haven't had an answer for what New Jersey is doing with him in the lineup.
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