Claude Giroux has been a name synonymous with the Flyers ever since he was drafted back in 2006. Since that fateful day, the Captain of the ship has seen every high and low one could possibly imagine. A 6x NHL All-star, 5x Bobby Clarke Trophy winner, and mainstay through regime after regime, there’s only one thing evading the resume of one of the most criminally underrated centers of this generation – a Stanley Cup.
It’s something that Giroux has been so close to touching, but so far from reaching in the same breath. The 32-year old will be playing in his eighth postseason for the Flyers, but when asked about how strong the team’s chances are on a conference call this week, he didn’t hold back.
Yeah, I do believe that this is probably our best chance that we’ve had since. We have a lot of depth. We have veterans. We have young players that do a lot for us. Our goaltending. We’re just good everywhere. Confidence is a big part of it. If we can get that confidence early on during the round robin, I think that’s going to be huge for us.
Who could blame him? At the time the season came to a grinding halt, Giroux had 53 points through 69 games and was only one goal away from surpassing his 2019 total. The rest of the team was just as hot as he was and keeping that momentum has been the obvious goal of training camp.
I think we’re on pace to get in the rhythm of a real hockey game and a playoff hockey game. You need a lot of work. Usually you have 82 games to do that. Right now we’re just trying to speed up the process, get the feel of the puck and get the feel of our system. Hopefully by next week when we play our first pre-tournament game, we’ll have the feel of the puck. It’s going to be challenging for sure.
Talking of that first pre-tournament game, it’s going to come against a bitter rival. A rival who Giroux drove a dagger deep into the heart of during a heroic Stadium Series comeback just a few short months ago – the Pittsburgh Penguins. There’s no love lost between these two teams and that’s only going to spar both Giroux and the rest of the team forward.
I think it’s going to be pretty intense. You want to get into it, you want to put yourself in positions and situations that you’re going to be put in during the round-robin. I think both teams want a little bit of momentum. Make sure you play the right way, make sure everybody follows the system. If you do that, it’s going to give us a step for the round-robin games.
Giroux sounds cool, calm, and collected ahead of what he knows is his best shot at winning a Stanley Cup yet. Will the drought finally end for both the Canadian Center, and a team who have craved it since 1975?
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre