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FINE AND DANDY

His finger healed, Claude Giroux returned to Flyers lineup and didn't miss a beat

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 8:05 AM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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FINE AND DANDY
PHILADELPHIA \u2013 To see what Flyers captain Claude Giroux is truly made of, one need only to watch 40 minutes of a preseason hockey game against New Jersey that on the whole has about as much excitement as\u2026 well\u2026 a regular season hockey game against New Jersey.\r\n\r\nFinal outcomes irrelevant (2-1 Devils for those inclined to ingest such useless information), the game was all about Giroux and if he could play the game at his typically elite level a little more than a month after an unfortunate golfing incident that resulted in a shattered shaft and finger surgery.

PHILADELPHIA – To see what Flyers captain Claude Giroux is truly made of, one need only to watch 40 minutes of a preseason hockey game against New Jersey that on the whole has about as much excitement as… well… a regular season hockey game against New Jersey.

Final outcomes irrelevant (2-1 Devils for those inclined to ingest such useless information), the game was all about Giroux and if he could play the game at his typically elite level a little more than a month after an unfortunate golfing incident that resulted in a shattered shaft and finger surgery.

The first 20 of those 40 minutes was simply a process of regaining familiarity for Giroux.

There was a lot to smile about Tuesday night as Claude Giroux was able to play his first game of the preseason for the Flyers.

Having not played a competitive NHL game in nearly five months, there was definitely a bit of rust-shaking to accomplish.

Not that it was all that noticeable. Timing just off on a pass here, a wrist shot with a little too much wrist, going wide there, but nothing that would show any cause for real concern.

Then came the second 20 minutes, and all notion of finger surgery, finding his game, getting re-acquainted with the ice and his teammates went out the window.

For there was Giroux, playing at the level everyone is accustomed to watching – a fierce competitor going hard in the corners, playing physical, creating chances, even ringing a shot off the post in the waning seconds of the second period.

It was vintage Giroux – all that was missing was an actual goal, but considering it was a preseason game, one in which guys like Giroux, who are secure with their position on the team, participate with he sole intent of not injuring themselves before the schedule says that games count, it was a sight for sore eyes.

And you didn’t need to watch the third period either. Not that it wasn’t good hockey for an exhibition game. Not that once he pushed it for 20 minutes Giroux pulled back on the reins.

No, because just the opposite. Because you knew, regardless of the time of year. Regardless of the meaning of the outcome. Regardless of the energy-level in the arena (hey, it’s preseason for the fans too) Giroux is going to play with his same elite competitive drive to help his team win.

“He is always good,” said Kimmo Timonen. “He’s in good shape and he is one of the guys who can miss a few months and he’s still good. He just has that natural skill and is a natural player like that. He is going to get even better.”

Oh, and it should be pointed out that for a guy who really couldn’t do anything with his hand for the past five weeks, Giroux won nine of 11 faceoffs.

Not that he wanted credit for that or anything…

“I owe that to my wingers,” he said. “About 75 percent of the time, a faceoff is 50/50. The wingers coming into the circle to win the puck determines if you win the draw or not, so that’smore a credit to them than me.”

So, his captain-speak is in midseason form as well.

In the faceoff circle Giroux won nine of 11 draws... in his first game after finger surgery.

“I didn’t see any issues with him shooting or puck battles or faceoffs, nothing like that,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s more his speed of reading line mates, not just him, but new players and getting into a system and getting comfortable with what we do and how we do it.”

Which would hint that the more action for Giroux the better then, right? Especially with the season opener now a week away.

But, as Laviolette pointed out, with a player like Giroux, game action, while always beneficial, is not always the driving force behind preparedness for a new season.

“When we were up in Lake Placid he started to gear himself up,” Laviolette said. “He got out there, was able to move pucks, pass pucks, shoot pucks, and then come back and get cleared for the battles and the contact. He feels great. I think the more he continues to play the more comfortable he’ll get, but like I said, coming back for a first game after not being able to do much of anything for the first part of camp, the puck sure was with him a lot tonight.”

As it will be most nights, because as the captain goes, so go the Flyers. And for the organization, it’s a good thing all is right with him after only 40 minutes.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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