CANADA FREEZES OUT GIROUX
NEWARK, N.J. -- Only in an alternate universe is Claude Giroux not one of the 25 best hockey players in Canada so it’s not over yet. As General Manager Steve Yzerman hinted Tuesday morning after announcing a Canadian Olympic team without Giroux, he remains an alternate to go to Sochi.
The question is, how many injuries away is Giroux from being named? Yzerman, the Tampa Bay GM, still has one of his Lightning players, Martin St. Louis, to take care of in addition to the Flyers captain.
“Anything can happen,” Giroux said Tuesday morning.
Indeed, there is a month to go, so all Giroux can do is continue to go and go as he has been in keying the Flyers’ resurgence, thus keeping his hand in Yzerman’s face.
“Not getting nominated, [I'm] pretty sure that tonight he will bring his game to another level,” said Jake Voracek. “Like everyone else, he probably is bleeped about it.”
No sense in Giroux’s venting about it, though, not on the morning of a key divisional game against the Devils. And not anytime really. Also, no reason to come across as being cavalier about his disappointment. Canada wants to send players to the Olympics who want to be there.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” said Giroux. “I have been saying it was one of my dreams to play for Team Canada. There are a lot of good players in Canada. Everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t make this team, there is a reason behind it.
“I am disappointed, not upset or mad. It’s tough today, good thing we have a game today, so I can put this behind me and get moving forward again. I am 26 years old. I have a lot of hockey left to play.”
If that turns out not to be in Sochi, the primary reason will be that Giroux plays on a Flyer line with an Austrian (Michael Raffl) and a Czech (Voracek) not another top Canadian-born player.
“It looked like there were a lot of pairings [chosen],” said Kimmo Timonen, who was announced as a member of Team Finland Tuesday, as Voracek was named to the Czech Republic team, and Raffl to the Austrian team.
“(Chris) Kunitz-(Sidney) Crosby; (Ryan) Getzlaf-(Corey) Perry, (Jonathan) Toews- (Patrick) Sharp. It makes sense, these guys have been playing good together.”
Making less sense is the naming of a struggling Rick Nash to the team ahead of the surging Giroux, but as No. 28 himself says – and not in answer to a specific question about Nash – a guy can control only what he can control.
“Those questions are for Team Canada,” Giroux said. “I am the hockey player. I was there to put my product out and play the best I could and didn’t make it. Gotta move forward from it.”
Which he did from an horrendous October that logically had little to do with not making a team not chosen on the basis of statistics.
“We had a slow start, that’s everybody on the whole team,” said Timonen. “The last six or seven weeks, he has been the old Claude. The way he has been playing the last six or seven weeks, I was 100 percent sure he was going to be named to the team.
“I am surprised. And very disappointed for him.”
NOTES: Ray Emery gets the start in goal for the Flyers against Martin Brodeur for the Devils. It likely means Steve Mason will be in net when the Flyers finally return home tomorrow against Montreal... Raffl will be back in the lineup for the Flyers after missing one game with a concussion... With Raffl in, Jay Rosehill will again be a healthy scratch, meaning Chris Vandevelde remains in the lineup as Matt Read will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury... Andrej Meszaros will also be heading to the Olympics as a member of Team Slovakia.... If the Flyers win tonight, it will be only the fourth time in team history they won five games on one road trip, and the first since the 2007-08 season (5-1 on a six-game trip).
Flyers Inside Reporter Anthony SanFilippo contributed to this report.