Flyers F Claude Giroux suspended for Game 5
VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) -- Philadelphia All-Star forward Claude Giroux was suspended by the NHL Monday for his illegal check to the head on New Jersey center Dainius Zubrus in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Giroux will miss Tuesday's Game 5 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Flyers, who lost 4-2 on Sunday in Newark, N.J., trail the series, 3-1.
Zubrus was not injured and returned to play. He said he was fine and will be ready to go for Game 5. Giroux said he "respects the decision and wants to move on."
Philadelphia's leading scorer in the postseason with eight goals and 17 points, Giroux spoke with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Monday. Giroux said he was not a dirty player and had no intention of hitting Zubrus in the head.
Shanahan said the head was targeted.
"When you look at this shift in its entirety, including the violent chop of the stick coupled with the lateness of the hit, we feel this reckless picking of the head rises to the level of supplemental discipline," Shanahan said.
Giroux had never been fined or suspended in his four-year NHL career.
"I was trying to finish my hit and he kind of leaned in and I kind of hit him, my shoulder to his head," Giroux said before the punishment was announced. "My elbow was down. I didn't jump. I'm a pretty honest player. I'm not a dirty player. I'm not out there to hurt anybody. I was just trying to finish a hit."
Giroux had stronger words for the Flyers, saying they were "panicking" and have lost confidence in their game against the Devils. That was never more evident than when he was called for the head-hit penalty on Zubrus.
"We're not playing our game," Giroux said. "We need to relax a little bit. Everybody's just panicking a little bit. We need to relax. We need to have a little more confidence in our game."