- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York Writer
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NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer called Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux's second-period shoulder to right winger Dainius Zubrus' head a "textbook" example of the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate.
"For me it looks textbook, like the hits they're trying to get out of the game," DeBoer said following New Jersey's 3-2 victory over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday night. "But I understand (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman and (deputy commissioner) Bill Daly were here, and I'm sure they'll look at that."
Neither Zubrus nor DeBoer would comment on whether Giroux should be suspended for the hit. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't respond to questions about whether Giroux might be subject to supplemental discipline. It is unknown whether he will receive a call from the NHL on it.
"It's the playoffs. They're trying to hit us, we're trying to hit them," said Zubrus, who scored two goals, including the game-winner with 2:13 left in the second. "There's plenty of hits that I guess you could say are questionable or whatever, but he got a penalty. I think that penalty was deserved, and that's it."
"That's for people that make decisions above me," DeBoer said.
With 3.6 seconds left in the middle frame, Zubrus dumped the puck in deep and was pursuing it along the right-wing boards. Giroux came over and drilled Zubrus up high, causing the Devils right winger to fall to the ice.
Zubrus was slow to get up. He immediately headed into the New Jersey dressing room but returned for his regular shifts in the third.
"I just didn't expect it. I tried to skate by him, and he kind of snuck up on me, and decided to hit me," Zubrus said. "The point of contact was the head. That's why I went down and took a few seconds to put myself back together. Then I went back to the locker room and I was checked out, but I had plenty of time to recover. I knew that a few minutes later, I felt good enough. I didn't think much that I wasn't going to come back. Five minutes later, I was confident I was going to get through the game and be fine."
Giroux was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. He said the hit wasn't intentional.
"I was trying to finish my hit and he kind of leaned in and kind of tried to chip the puck in. I didn't see the replay so I don't know," Giroux said. "Obviously, I'm not a dirty player. I don't want to hit guys on the head, but I was just trying to finish my hit there."
Before hitting Zubrus, Giroux was frustrated about a play that happened right before it on his shift.
"Yeah, I think (Martin) Brodeur played it in that little circle where he's not supposed to," Giroux said. "It's a tough play for a ref, but obviously it's pretty quick. But it's frustrating obviously when the other team deserves a penalty. You kind of want to go on the power play but it was a quick play and I mean hockey's a quick game so stuff like that's going to happen."
Giroux doesn't think he'll be suspended. Giroux hasn't had any previous suspension history, and the fact that Zubrus didn't miss any significant ice time could help his cause.
"I think I should be fine," he said. "Like I said he was leaning in at the same time. (Anton) Volchenkov also hit (Wayne) Simmonds in the face with an elbow if they look at mine they should probably look at that one too."
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com
New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer called Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux's second-period shoulder to right winger Dainius Zubrus' head "a textbook hit" that the NHL is trying to eliminate from the game.