Archive for Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux Shines as Flyers Drop Penguins, 6-3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 20, 2009 by flyersfan44

The Flyers came out roaring in front of the usually raucous Wachovia Center crowd on Sunday afternoon, scoring on their first two shots and going on to a scintillating 6-3 victory in game three.  In what was one of the best playoff games I’ve seen, rookie Claude Giroux starred with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist, and a fight) and the Flyers and Pens pounded each other for sixty minutes of intense hockey. 

Jeff Carter swooped in and scored on a backhand shot to open the scoring and Mike Richards scored a power play goal to make it 2-0 before the game was barely five minutes old.  The Pens tied it after an obvious goalie interference penalty was overlooked on Rob Scuderi’s goal 13 seconds into the second period. Four minutes later, however, Giroux took an awesome feed from Danny Briere in front and tapped home an open-netter.  Midway through the second, Giroux made star defenseman Sergei Gonchar look ordinary when he stripped him of the puck behind the net, froze him with a sharp turn, then skated behind the net and threaded a pass in front to Simon Gagne for a one-timer into the net.  Perhaps more embarrassing for the Penguins was giving up the first ever goal by a player from Alabama, as rookie Jared Ross scored three minutes into the third.  Sergei Malkin’s second of the game got the few misguided Pengiuns fans in the building briefly excited before Gagne’s second of the game into an empty net sealed the win. 

The lopsided officiating continued in the Penguins favor, with several phantom calls against the Flyers and numerous elbows and other cheap shots by the skunks from the Steel City overlooked.  Jordan Staal connected on more elbows than shots on net and Chris Kunitz left his feet and went at Flyers’ defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s head early in the game.  The Pens have been targeting Timonen all series and the refs let it go as he evidently does not warrant the protection afforded Cindy Crosby and other stars.  I thought the Flyers-Montreal series in last year’s playoffs was ridiculous in terms of the refs favoring the Canadiens, but the first three games of this series have been worse.  Looks like the Flyers will have to beat the refs as well as the Penguins if they want to win this series. 

The Flyers still need to win game four at home. If they do, it’s a whole new series.

No, it's over here, Fleury. Rookie Claude Giroux scores in Game Three.

No, it's over here, Fleury. Rookie Claude Giroux scores in Game Three.

Devils Exorcised

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 25, 2009 by flyersfan44

Don’t look now, but the Flyers are looking like they’re putting it together at just the right time.  First, a solid 3-1 victory over the Penguins and then another great defensive effort with a 4-2 win over the Devils.  Tight checking, backchecking, and solid coverage in front have the Flyers looking like they’re firing up for the playoffs.  The power play has returned, scoring three goals last night, Daniel Briere appears to be finding his game after most of the season on the injured list, and rookie Claude Giroux looks more confident with each game and is blossoming into a nifty playmaker before our eyes.  He had an awesome behind the back pass to Simon Gagne behind the net which froze everyone before Gagne put it past Martin Brodeur.  Marty Biron is finding his game and is getting hot at the right time.  The Flyers’ current three game win streak began with coach John Stevens changing around the lines – looks like a wise move which spread out the scoring and has assembled three dangerous lines.  All of a sudden, things look promising.

Camp’s Over; Opening Roster Set

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 9, 2008 by flyersfan44

Training Camp has ended and opening night is only two days away.  The opening of a new hockey season is always full of anticipation – how will we do this year; is this the year we finally win it all? 

Some of the questions going into this year’s camp have been answered (at least for the time being): Claude Giroux did not have a great camp and as a result was sent to the Phantoms.  Perhaps he’ll be called up and get another opportunity to stick with the parent club. 

New defensemen Steve Eminger and Ossi Vaananen performed well in the pre-season and look like promising additions to the defense, with speed and size.   An unexpected development was that 18 year-old first round draft pick defenseman Luca Sbisa had a great camp and has made the team for now.  The Flyers can keep him for nine games before returning him to juniors or keeping him on their roster for the season.  He cannot be sent to the Phantoms.  A longer look in some regular season games should provide more insight, but it looks like the pick acquired in the RJ Umberger trade could lessen the impact of losing his scoring. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be Flyers hockey without injuries, and we have two significant ones already: Defenseman Ryan Parent will be out for three months with a shoulder injury and defenseman Randy Jones will miss time due to upcoming hip surgery.  So, before the season starts, the Flyers lose a top-four defenseman and an up-and-coming young defenseman who would have been in the top six.  They may actually need Sbisa to continue his strong showing. 

Going into the first game, the active roster looks like this:

Goal: Marty Biron, Antero Nittymaki, Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Defense: Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Steve Eminger, Ossi Vaananen, Lasse Kukkonen, Luca Sbisa

Forward Lines: Danny Briere, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, Mike Knuble, Joffrey Lupul, Glen Metropolit, Scotty Upshall, Aaron Asham, Riley Cote, Steve Downie

So, there it is.  Let’s drop the puck and let’s go Flyers!

Camp Opens Today

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2008 by flyersfan44

The Flyers open training camp for the much-anticipated 2008-09 season today at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey.  Now the off-season moves are pretty much completed and the evaluation begins.  Many fans were disappointed with the lack of a big-name signing over the summer, but salary cap constraints only allowed for a few lesser known names to be added to the roster.  The departure of forward RJ Umberger, also the result of salary cap issues, also was disappointing and this blossoming player will be missed.

Let’s take a look at some of the more significant stories as training camp gets underway:

1. Mike Richards is named Captain. Looks like it’s time for the young forward to take the next step to a leadership position.  The other option was defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who also provides good leadership and was captain in Nashville, but Richards definitely represents the future of the club and it makes sense for him to take on the official designation of team leader.  This will become Richards’ team.

2. Who will be the Top 6 on Defense? With Derian Hatcher placed on injured reserve, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and Randy Jones are the automatic top three.  Ryan Parent, who played well during the Flyers’ playoff run, could step into the top 4 spot with a good camp.  That would leave five players to compete for the last two regular spots: Lasse Kukkonen, new acquisitions Steve Eminger, Ossi Vaananen, Danny Syvret, and veteran Bryan Berard, who was recently signed to a tryout contract.  How well Eminger, Vaananen, and Syvret play and whether Berard can still produce will determine how strong the Flyers’ defense will be this season.  They need to improve greatly in this area and cut down on the number of shots allowed per game.  They just cannot regularly give up 35 or 40 shots per game like last season and expect to improve their point total.

3. Another center moves to the wing. How many times have the Flyers moved a center to the wing?  Seems like this has happened often and not always with good results.  The latest experiment is moving Danny Briere from center to wing with Mike Richards centering him and Simon Gagne.  I like Briere at center (his natural position) because of his size.  I’d hate to see him get banged up along the boards, but the Flyers expect some chemistry with this combination. 

4. Will Gagne return to form? After missing most of last season with a concussion, will Gagne return to the 40 goal-scorer or will he be unable to regain his scoring touch? Will he be overly susceptible to concussions and be knocked out of the lineup again?  The solid return of Gagne is essential if the Flyers are to improve.

5. Consistency! The Flyers must develop into a team that plays consistently well over the course of the season.  Too many ups and downs last year, with a horrid ten game losing streak that almost cost them a playoff appearance. Were they playing over their heads in the first two playoff rounds or is that the team that we can expect to see this season?  50 wins could be an achievable goal if some of the question marks pan out but only if coach John Stevens can get them to play at a consistent level throughout the season.

6. Will Giroux make the team and produce? Claude Giroux, who tore up the QMJHL playoffs last spring, is expected to make the team this season.  He has great goal scoring ability and wonderful potential for the Flyers.  Will he be able to produce at the NHL level? This is another piece that the Flyers will need to jump to the next level.

That’s a fair amount of uncertainty heading into camp but should make for an interesting pre-season and early regular season in Philadelphia.