Just when the Flyers thought things couldn’t get any worse on the injury front, the hits just keep on coming. This time, offensive catalyst and early Hart Trophy contender Claude Giroux took an accidental knee to the side of the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds. Obviously, friendly fire isn’t all that friendly.
The play occurred near the end of the second period of Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia between the Flyers and Lightning. Giroux headed straight to the bench after the accidental collision and promptly received medical attention from the training staff. He eventually was forced to the locker room before the period came to a conclusion.
As if Giroux leaving the bench wasn’t bad enough, Flyers fans really had reason to worry when the superstar wasn’t able to return to the bench for the third period. If he had gone to the “quiet room” for 10 minutes and everything went well, he would have been able to return by the start of the final frame. Since he wasn’t able to answer the bell, well…
Fans in the Wells Fargo Center took note as well when they saw their team return to the ice for the third period. All eyes were on the bench looking for No. 28 to exit the tunnel and return to the bench. When he didn’t, reality started to settle in that Giroux, Chris Pronger, and Brayden Schenn could all be sidelined at the same time with concussions.
Obviously the organization will be cautious with the recent concussion problems on the roster. Something to remember when a player takes a rough shot to the head is that even if he returns, it’s something that could linger for days before it’s properly diagnosed. Remember, this wouldn’t be the first time Giroux suffered a concussion– he’s already gone through the ordeal back in 2009.
As if losing Giroux wasn’t enough, Ilya Bryzgalov headed to the bench in the middle of the third period. If the Flyers didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Not all body checks that lead to concussions are illegal hits. For anyone who was wondering the difference, Nick Foligno lit up Cody Hodgson in the first period of the Canucks/Sens game on Saturday night. Hodgson corrals the puck and starts up the boards in his own zone and makes the unfortunate decision to cut towards the middle. Instead of finding open ice, Hodgson found a huge piece of a Nick Foligno check.
The Sens forward delivers a perfectly clean check. He keeps his elbow down and stays on his feet as he drives through Hodgson. There’s contact with the head, but only because Hodgson is bending over and makes a late turn into Foligno. Hopefully Andy Sutton was watching and taking notes.
Hodgson was clearly dazed, struggled to find his balance on his feet, and had to be helped to the bench. It was quickly announced that he would not return to the game.
On the ensuing shift, Canucks forward Dale Weise went straight towards Foligno to make him answer for the huge check on a skilled player. Foligno obliged, they dropped the gloves, and settled business. Much respect to Weise for standing up for his teammate; much respect to Foligno for taking a challenger that is doing his job.
(Update: It continued to be a memorable night for Foligno. Midway through the second period, he hit Ryan Kesler almost the same spot in the ice and was given boarding call… and a 10-minute misconduct for his vocal disagreement with the call.)
When will he learn? Sutton receives eight-game suspension
For those wondering how Brendan Shanahan would handle repeat offenders under his watch, wonder no more: Edmonton Oilers’ defenseman Andy Sutton was suspended today for eight games for his charging Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night.
We learned yesterday that Sutton had waived his right to an in-person hearing signaling that the suspension could be lengthy. Within the official NHL explanation, Shanahan explains that the suspension length is due in large part to Sutton’s prior supplemental discipline history (in addition to Sutton charging on the play). He also clarified that they also took into account that Ponikarovsky was NOT injured on the play.
Can you imagine what the suspension would have been if Ponikarovsky was injured on the play?
Check out the league’s explanation and let us know what you think. Did the league do enough to a guy who has repeatedly crossed the line? Or is eight games enough for a play that didn’t cause severe injury to an opponent?