Better With Popcorn

If Giroux's wrist is bothering him, he isn't showing it

There is no denying that injuries have been a huge component to this season’s Philadelphia Flyers.

At this point, it’s easier to name the players on the team who haven’t missed time to injury compared to the ones who have. In addition, some players have suffered several injuries that have forced them to miss extended time.

Following the team’s Sunday night game against the Washington Capitals, many wondered if Claude Giroux was going to be the newest member to the latter group.

After taking a slash to the wrist by Washington forward Jason Chimera, Giroux missed an optional practice and speculation began as to whether he was going to be able to play in Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Once it was determined by his presence in pregame warm-ups that he was going to play, another interesting development occurred during the opening faceoff.

Giroux has spent all season as the top-line center. However, it was Giroux’s line mate Scott Hartnell who took the opening draw.

In fact, Hartnell took the most faceoffs of any other player on the team on Tuesday ending the game with 16, which is a little under half of his season total of 34 (in comparison, Giroux has attempted 1261 faceoffs this season).

While Hartnell took the draws, he immediately transitioned over to his normal position on the wing, allowing Giroux to play the role of center man.

This has led many to believe that Giroux was unable to take faceoffs because of an injury to his wrist.

However, he had a different explanation.

"Hartsy has been good at face offs and in the playoffs sometimes I get kicked out so we want Hartsy to get in there,” Giroux said when asked why he wasn’t taking the draws. “He did a good job tonight and he has a heavy stick and he works hard for face offs."

Although a 44% success rate is by no means impressive compared to the league’s elite, it wasn’t too bad for a player who makes his money on the wings.

That wasn’t the only reason Hartnell was taking the draws.

“Hartsy is good at face offs and when the other center man sees that it is Hartsy maybe he is gonna be intimidated a little bit," Giroux said with a smile.

Whatever the real reasoning behind Giroux not taking the faceoffs may be, if it was because of his wrist, it certainly didn’t effect any other phase of his game.

Giroux had a team-high five shots, as well as two hits and three blocks in the game as well as a beautiful break away goal and an assist on the game-winning goal by Max Talbot.

Essentially, Giroux was one of the most dominating players on the ice on Tuesday.

“He had a really spirited game, he was skating hard, he was really competitive in one on one battles,” Peter Laviolette said of his super star’s performance. “He was, I think a real factor in the game just by his competitiveness. And obviously he had the points to help out and the big goal but he was just a real competitive player tonight.”

He has now set career highs in both assists (53) and points (77) and is one goal away from tying his career high of 25 goals in a single season.

Giroux is currently in third place in the league lead for points and trails both Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos who both have 81 points.

While Giroux’s wrist may be bothering him, it certainly seems like it won’t be having any effect on his play.



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