Flyers

Jeremy Roenick on Claude Giroux: 'He lets everything get into his mind'

Jeremy Roenick on Claude Giroux: 'He lets everything get into his mind'

Back in early April at Flyers cleanout day, Claude Giroux was asked about outside criticism.

He said none of it fazed him much — essentially in one ear, out the other.

"I'm probably the toughest person to judge myself," Giroux said then. "I'm really hard on myself. What you guys write and say, it doesn't really bother me."

Jeremy Roenick isn't so sure about that.

The former Flyers center and current NBC hockey analyst had a message for Giroux on Friday. Roenick made clear how much he admires and enjoys the Flyers' captain. His words actually came across as more caring and supportive than critical and demeaning.

"I'm going to be looking at one of my favorite players in the league and a guy who I really respect and love, and that's Claude Giroux," Roenick said, addressing the state of the Flyers on CSN's Philly Sports Talk.

"He's a stud. He's a stud."

But …

"The reason why Claude Giroux doesn't get success is [because] he lets everything get into his mind and he looks for other things to blame it on," Roenick said. "Claude Giroux can play this game and he can play it at a high, hard level. He's just got to get back into the inside of the game, start attacking the game and not worrying about what the media or the fans are saying about Claude Giroux, period. Because he is a world-class player that can make a difference, and that's why he has the 'C' on his chest."

As we all know, the Flyers are coming off their third postseason absence in the last five seasons. Prior to that, the organization had missed the playoffs just twice over its previous 18 seasons. 

In 2016-17, Giroux, who will turn 30 next year, posted a career low in goals for a full season (14) and a third straight drop-off in points (58). As tough as they come, Giroux played all 82 games but didn't look 100 percent healthy for much of the season. He's the type of player to never admit an injury or playing while hurt, but he even opened up a bit about the difficulties of last season.

"When you try to do something and you can't do it; your mind wants to do something but your body doesn't do it, it's frustrating," he said in April.

"But you've got to keep working on your game, get stronger and faster. I'm very excited to have a whole summer to work out and really do what I want to do."

That's what Roenick would love to see from Giroux next season.

"You win and you lose with your best player," he said.

So Roenick left Giroux with this.

"If I was sitting in front of Claude Giroux right here today, I would say, 'You need to make amends and you need to have a bounce-back season and show everybody why you have been one of the better players over the last five years and last year was just a bad-luck situation,'" he said. "This team is going to run on Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek.

"If Claude is watching right now, I love you to death, put it back together, show everybody why you're one of the best competitors in the game and get back up into that top-scoring aspect. And don't worry about slumps and don't worry about what people think of you, just be Claude Giroux. And if he does that, this team is going to prosper."

If Alain Vigneault can't work his magic with Flyers' roster, pressure mounts for Chuck Fletcher

If Alain Vigneault can't work his magic with Flyers' roster, pressure mounts for Chuck Fletcher

Chuck Fletcher was brought in because things weren't going well enough and quickly enough for the Flyers.

The predicament he inherited required eventual change.

After all, sitting alongside team president Paul Holmgren back in November, Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott said the Flyers were eyeing a general manager with a "bias for action," among other qualities.

With time and evaluation, Fletcher has begun providing the desired action.

A new head coach is on board, bringing extensive experience and outside perspective, while two new assistants with strong pedigrees have been hired.

But perhaps the most influential part in shifting the Flyers' course has remained mostly intact: the roster. That could drastically change this upcoming offseason with free agency and potential trades. However, Fletcher, facing his first offseason as the Flyers' GM, doesn't see an exodus needed with the current roster — or at least not yet.

"The Flyers are a great opportunity. You guys are in this market, for me coming in from the outside, I know when Paul Holmgren approached me about being the general manager of the Flyers, I'm like, 'Wow.' This is a premium job in the National Hockey League and we're set up where we should have an opportunity to get better quickly," Fletcher said April 18. "I know we need more good players, but we have a lot of good players. It's not like you have to gut this thing — we have cap space, we have picks. We have really good staff, really good staff. On the scouting and management side, I've added one person, I haven't subtracted anything. There's a good group here and we have the ability to get better quickly if we all do our job."

Therein lies a poignant and undeniable pressure on Fletcher in Year 1 with the Flyers under Alain Vigneault's watch.

Aside from Wayne Simmonds, who became an inevitable piece to move given the circumstances, the Flyers' core has survived. So, too, has the overall makeup of the roster.

Fletcher, Vigneault and the Flyers believe this team can win with a refined system and different guidance. They don't exactly see a team that has missed the playoffs every other season since 2012-13, a stretch consisting of three first-round exits.

Will Fletcher add this summer? Of course — the ability to do so is one of the reasons why Vigneault found the Flyers as an attractive destination. When Fletcher was hiring Vigneault, the two established a list of areas in which the Flyers can improve.

"We're looking at some options and if we can put the right things in place," Vigneault said at his introduction, "it's going to be a lot of fun."

Significant subtraction was not featured on the list.

"There's some solid youth with a lot of upside here that is coming into its own," Vigneault said. "There's great goaltending, being one of those youth pieces. There's a solid core group that, in my mind, needs the right direction. And you've got the combination, also, of some solid veteran players that have been in the league a few years, that can still contribute at a high level in this league. … After discussing it with a lot of people that I respect their opinion in the NHL, I feel that the Flyers are a very good team that with the proper direction, proper mindset, proper culture and people working together, will be a very good team in the near future."

That's why Year 1 will be so telling.

Vigneault is a coach with a tremendous track record of winning during his first season on the job. He did so at three separate stops (see story). Michel Therrien has 38 postseason victories under his belt as a head coach and took a team to the Stanley Cup Final. Mike Yeo owns three playoff series victories as a head coach and has a ring as an assistant.

If this group can't produce the results with the Flyers' roster, Fletcher will have to take a longer, much more serious look at the players in place and make his hardest decisions yet.

At that point, it may be the only action left.

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule, live stream: More drama ahead for Sharks-Blues Western Conference Final?

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule, live stream: More drama ahead for Sharks-Blues Western Conference Final?

There has been a ton of drama only three games into the Western Conference Final between the Sharks and Blues.

Game 3 was won by the Sharks, 5-4, in overtime, but not without controversy. San Jose may have gotten away with a hand pass on the game-winning goal.

The series will shift one way or the other Friday night with Game 4.

Below is the schedule for Day 37 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues (SJS 2-1)
Game 4, Western Conference Final
8 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here