Flyers captain Claude Giroux puts slump behind him

Claude Giroux had gone six games without a goal. TOM MIHALEK / Associated Press
Claude Giroux had gone six games without a goal. TOM MIHALEK / Associated Press
Posted: February 04, 2013

After starting the season with goals in each of his first two games, Flyers center Claude Giroux entered Saturday in one of the worst slumps of his young career.

Six games. No goals. And whispers that the new captaincy role was weighing on him.

The 25-year-old superstar appeared to be pressing.

"I've talked to Claude. I think he cares a lot. I think he wants to be successful and he wants his team to be successful," coach Peter Laviolette said before Giroux broke out of his funk in Saturday's much-needed 5-3 win over Carolina. "I think you've got to continue to go out there and just play the game and not carry so much [weight]. When you lose games, you carry it with you. We need to focus on the positive things.

"He takes that burden on, and he shouldn't," Laviolette said. "He should focus on coming out here and doing what he can do, which is being a great player."

Giroux played arguably his best game of the season Saturday, scoring a goal, setting up another, firing five shots on goal, and winning 56 percent of his face-offs as he helped the Flyers (3-6) end a three-game losing streak.

It was a Giroux-worthy performance, even though he was centering yet another line. Because of injuries to high-scoring wingers Scott Hartnell (broken foot) and Wayne Simmonds (concussion), Giroux has had a multitude of linemates in the first nine games. The latest: veteran Danny Briere, his former Haddonfield housemate, and rookie Tye McGinn.

"Claude puts a lot of pressure on himself," Laviolette said, "and sometimes if you can dump that pressure . . ."

Giroux is between a rock and a hard place. He is ultracompetitive, which is one of the traits that make him such a great player. At the same time, when things aren't going well on the ice, that competitiveness can turn to frustration.

Had the 2-6 start begun to eat away at Giroux?

"What do you think?" Giroux said with a smile. "It's frustrating because everybody is working hard and everybody wants to win. We just couldn't get 'er done, but like I said, it's early in the season. We didn't have any preseason games, and it looks like guys are getting their jump a bit here."

Told that Laviolette implied he was trying too hard, Giroux grinned.

"He told me that, but what does that even mean?" he said in a pleasant tone. "You don't want to try too hard? All right, I'll try less!"

He was kidding, and he drew laughter.

A breakout game had done wonders for his mood and, on this night, lifted the dark cloud that has hovered over the Flyers for most of the season's first two weeks.

Simmonds update. Simmonds will be reevaluated regarding his concussion symptoms on Monday, general manager Paul Holmgren said.

Breakaways. The Flyers did not practice Sunday; they will practice Monday at 11 a.m. in Voorhees. . . . Next up: A rematch Tuesday against visiting Tampa Bay, which scored a 5-1 win over the Flyers on Jan. 27. The Lighting are the league's highest-scoring team, averaging 4.88 goals per game, which is more than double the Flyers' output of 2.33 per game.

Contact Sam Carchidi


Follow @BroadStBull on Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus