Claude Giroux is ready for another unique challenge in 2021

Screenshot 2020-12-31 at 11.00.08

Following an already unique 2019-2020, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is ready to take on another unique season in 2020-2021.

Imagine being a rookie in 2019-2020. Your first season in the NHL and it’s shortened due to a pandemic, then, you’re confined inside a sanitation bubble for the entirety of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Surely, that is unique. Now, your sophomore season schedule consists exclusively of division rivals. At the NHL level, you only know change as a constant.

Now, consider Claude Giroux, the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s played through the unique pandemic shortened season and will play through the abbreviated inter-divisional season. Giroux isn’t a stranger to weird. In 2012-2013, he played a 48 game season cut short due to the NHL lockout. The circumstances are vastly different, but he’s familiar with preparing for a short season.

Feeling great and excited for the season, Giroux is key to the Flyers roster. It will be the first time an NHL player faces the same opponents eight times throughout the season and it’s a challenge the captain is ready for.

“When you play those teams more often and with back-to-backs against the same team, it’s going to be a good rivalry,” said Giroux. “Teams are going to be fighting for playoff spots. You won’t have games against other divisions or other conferences. Every game is going to be huge.”

As the NHL is constantly changing to ensure hockey takes place this season, Philadelphia has remained mostly the same. Their player personnel and the coaching staff is mostly the same from their 2019-2020 formula. That could be an advantage the Flyers have over most other teams in their division. A hearty dose of familiarity keeps a tightly knit locker room in sync. Without all of these changing parts, the younger players grow quickly around the veterans.

“Everybody knows what kind of game we’re trying to play,” Giroux stated. “Being able to jump into the season and being able to play with the guys you have played with before, there won’t be a lot of players that you haven’t played with before, and you have to get the chemistry going.” Those sentiments hold more weight in 2020-2021. Philadelphia getting out to a hot start to begin the season means an early advantage in the playoff race.

Following their 2020 Stanley Cup playoff run, the Flyers believe they are a better team than their postseason performance showed. Giroux cites the last postseason as a learning experience for this core of players. Starting the learning curve in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals is a testament to the skill Philadelphia’s depth possesses.

Giroux hinted that Philippe Myers is a candidate to play on the top-pair with Ivan Provorov. Evident after receiving a three-year, $7.65mil contract extension, Myers is reliable on both offense and defense. “For him, you can just see the steps he took from two years ago to last year. We expect him to keep growing. He’s a fun teammate. When you have a teammate that wants to learn, he’s always fun to be around,” Claude Giroux said of Myers.

The Flyers open their season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 13th, 2021, at 5:30pm. It is charming that the 2020-2021 campaign could be even more exciting than their 2019-2020 outcome. Giroux’s word provides insight that the team is ready to take off in two weeks. He, like the rest of the roster, will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. The Flyers are motivated to accelerate past their most recent success in Alain Vigneault’s first season.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre