Earlier this post season I wrote an article detailing the NHL's lack of consistency for taking disciplinary action on it's players. It all seemed to die down after the 25 game suspension to Raffi Torres. Maybe that suspension was a message to the players. It seems though, that Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux did not get the memo.
Watch from 0:48 on. Brendan Shanahan aka the suspension czar, has said he wants to get in the mindset of a player to understand the whole story of a play. Well here's a perfect example of what was in Giroux's head. For some reason, he wants a penalty called. I'm not entirely sure what the problem was, or what warranted that type of reaction, but from the tantrum he throws on the ice, it's obvious he's angry about something the Devils did. When he did not get his way, he went gunning for the man with the puck, Dainus Zubrus.
Zubrus is unsuspecting of the hit. He is skating forward, head up, skating after the puck he had just sent into the Flyers' zone. Giroux, in his rage, skates in from Zubrus' blind side, starts lining up the hit after the puck was dumped in, and guns right for his head.
Many Flyers fans will say that the hit is a hockey play, but this hit was as far from a hockey play as you can get. Giroux's complete disregard for the safety of his fellow player is not only a let down for his team, but an embarrassment to his sport. The Flyers were outraged, and rightfully so, at the antics of their first round opponents. All Claude Giroux has done is make his side look like hypocrites.
Pierre McGuire seems to think it was clean because Giroux didn't jump in to the hit. Well Pierre, maybe you didn't get a clean look at the play from your perch between the benches, but Claude Giroux, a great player who has never been suspended in the past, threw a dirty hit, no doubt about it.
Even as a Rangers fan, I've respected Claude's talent, and his game throughout his career. He's one of the best players in the league, and this is far from his normal behavior. His actions though, put his team at jeopardy. They are now down 3-1, and will have to go Game 5 without their best player. The Devils stole home ice from the Flyers by splitting the first two games, and then protected it by taking Games 3 and 4. Now, with a Game 5 in Philly, the Flyers are up against it. This is the game that you need your best player to be exactly that. You can't do that from the press box. Giroux's teammates, coaches, and fans should all be disappointed.