Claude Giroux is the poster boy for how quickly things can change in the NHL playoffs. Giroux was unreal in the Flyers six-game victory over the Penguins, racking up 14 points, and becaues of that he was getting rave reviews from everyone. It was well-deserved, but now the Flyers are down 3-1 to the Devils and Giroux has only one goal in the series, and he might be watching game five from the pressbox after hid hit on Danius Zubrus in game four. And suddenly many of the same people who were raving about him are now saying he’s a predator and his actions represent everything that is wrong in the game.
Such is life in the hockey. You can be revered or hated in a very short span of time.
Giroux’s hit was clearly late, and that is the big issue. You can’t hit a guy that late after he delivers the puck, but I’m not suddenly going to declare Giroux a travesty to the game. Emotions run high, especially at the pace of the playoffs, and I will never expect players to act correctly all the time.
I find it interesting how many media, bloggers and fans will rip on players expecting them to "respect" one another, yet many of these same people show zero respect in the comment sections or even in person. And trust me, we have much more time while we type out a response to make the right decision, than the players do in their split-second situations. The game is incredibly fast and some players will make wrong decisions. Realize that, punish accordingly, if actually necessary, and move on. You can’t expect the game to be fast, tough, rugged, but incident free. It will never happen, and we shouldn’t expect it to.
I want to see the best players on the ice. I’m not saying they should be allowed to do whatever they like, but Zubrus wasn’t hurt and I’d give Giroux one game at the most. Nothing in his past suggests he is a predator.
**UPDATE…The NHL has suspended Giroux for one game. He’ll miss game five.**
- Got some clarification on Justin Schultz. The Ducks have until June 1st to sign him, but if they don’t he won’t become a UFA on June 1st. He become a UFA after he informs Wisconsin that he isn’t returning for his senior year. If he does that prior to the draft, then he’d have to go back in the draft. He likely won’t declare that he is leaving school until the week after the draft, so then he’d be a UFA starting July 1st. There is some other criteria that goes into it, but this seems to be the correct timeline. My info was wrong on the June 1st date. Apologies.
- Hands up how many of you are sick of listening/reading/watching to the people who want every hard hit analyzed over and over. The Ovechkin hit on Girardi was clean. There was nothing wrong with it. What is becoming an epidemic is the amount of beat reporters/analysts of teams who become cheerleaders in the playoffs. Tweeting endlessly about how a hit on a player that you cover was dirty is rather unprofessional in my opinion. Especially if a week or so later the team you cover delivers a borderline hit and you say nothing. You are paid to cover the team, not cheer for them.
- What term and length would you sign Devan Dubnyk for? I’d go two years at $2 -$2.5 million/season.
- What about Sam Gagner? He is two years from being unrestricted. Would you go two years at around the same money he made last year, $2.275? I could see a two-year pact close to five million.
- Jeff Petry is an intersting case. He’s only 24 and entering his 2nd full season with the Oilers. He’ll be a top-four D-man next year for the Oilers, and he made $850,000 last year. If I’m the Oilers, I try to lock him up for three years at around $3 million/season. That is a big raise, but if he keeps progressing the Oilers could have him for a bargain price for the final two years of his deal.
- This is an awesome promotional video for the Canadian paralympics team. I love it.
- Edmonton Rush forward Ryan Ward might be the Daniel Briere of the NLL. Ward had five goals and 11 points in the Rush’s 19-11 upset in Calgary on Saturday night. In two playoff games v. the Roughnecks Ward has 20 points. Ward averages around 4 points a game in the regular season, but he’s been unreal in the playoffs for the Rush. They are in the west final v. Minnesota this weekend, and they have a legit shot to win that game and play in their first NLL championship. I don’t expect Ward to put up 10 points every game, but if he can pot six or seven this weekend they should win.
- I think the NHL is just fine. I don’t think we need to outlaw shot-blocking or any other asinine suggestion to improve the game. It is fine. Of course, they need to cut down the headshots, but overall it is fine. I know that isn’t very confrontational, but I’m getting tired of every day someone coming up with some zany suggestion that will "better" the game.
- Don’t forget to spoil your mother this weekend. Mother’s Day is on Sunday.