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Claude Giroux’s hit to the head of Dainius Zubrus of Devils: minor penalty or more? (VIDEO)

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

Late in the second period of Game 4 between the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux got angry and did something regrettable to Dainius Zubrus:

Giroux was upset over an incident earlier in the shift, heatedly griping to the official as he skated back up ice. Zubrus chipped the puck into the Flyers' zone, Giroux skated in front of him and then threw his shoulder into the head of the Devils' forward. Giroux was given a 2-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head.

There is no major penalty in the NHL for illegal checks to the head. Should he have been given a match penalty? That's if the referee believes "the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head." Zubrus wasn't injured; one could argue the hit was deliberate.

Should this end up with a suspension? Normally we'd say "no" without a second thought … but that James Neal suspension from the previous round, in which a petulant shift and an attempt to injure resulted in a one-game ban, lingers on the mind. Neal went after Giroux, who was beating the Penguins; Giroux went after Zubrus, who had given the Devils the lead moments earlier in the period.

But we'd still say "no" on the suspension front, intentional or not.

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