Claude Giroux debuted for the Philadelphia Flyers 10 years ago. How much have things changed since then?
Ten years ago this week, a very young, fresh-faced Claude Giroux made his NHL debut for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Ottawa Senators. Ten years later, his sweater is still Black and Orange.
The only difference, besides the beard he now sports and the number on his back is a C on that sweater. Giroux is now the Captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, the only professional team he has ever played for.
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Over the years, the Flyers and Claude have had their ups and downs. One win shy of the Stanley Cup in 2010. Three seasons out of the Playoffs. A debilitating surgery for Giroux that begat a disappointing 2016-17 season. What will forever and always be known as The Shift against the Penguins in the 2012 playoffs. An embarrassing offseason arrest. A Hart Trophy nomination.
Silencing The Critics
This season, Claude Giroux has silenced nearly every criticism that he has faced. He scored his 22nd goal of the season on Saturday versus Ottawa. Ten years ago, Giroux missed on his first-ever shootout attempt in the game versus Ottawa. In this game, he scored a goal on a breakaway. It was a goal so dirty and nasty that the replay should have a parental advisory.
The Flyers ended the game versus Ottawa in a point tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The mere fact that this team can even consider the playoffs a possibility is a testament to Claude Giroux’s leadership.
Giroux was moved to the wing at the beginning of the season. Many players would have considered this a demotion, perhaps pouted. Giroux embraced the change and has responded with a season that has his name mentioned in discussions for a second run at the Hart Trophy.
When the team hit a ten game winless streak, there was no discord in the locker room. A locker room that looked to Claude Giroux, and saw no panic. Giroux may be his own worst critic. Despite having a phenomenal season, he called himself out after a recent win against Carolina, telling the media that he needed to be better, that he could go to another level. As a good Captain should, he has done just that. His team has done the same.
He may be a little older, a little banged up and ready to settle down, but Giroux is doing just fine. To quote David Lee Murphy, there might be a little dust on the bottle, but don’t let it fool you ‘bout what inside, Claude. Your moves have only gotten sweeter with time.