He’s the longest-tenured active athlete in Philadelphia, what he has done for the Flyers doesn’t go unnoticed by fans — but for some reason, Claude Giroux still falls through the cracks when it’s time to get recognized on a broader scope in the NHL.
And I don’t mean when he just hits a career milestone, either. Of course an athlete is going to be recognized for a moment like that in their career, but for it to be the only time Giroux gets any form of acknowledgment, at least league-wide, is simply absurd.
Everyone celebrates these moments to honor the captain for yet another accomplishment he has within the franchise, but it also got me thinking — why … why is he only ever recognized after these and not at all times? … Because he should.
Giroux is an athlete that deserves credit for just about everything he does. And even though he’s not on pace for any huge career numbers this season, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means there is a ton of talent throughout the roster and things aren’t falling on his shoulders at all times — and there haven’t been many times throughout his time in the NHL when that could’ve been said.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t a great help though. Through the past five games, he has eight points (two goals, six assists) and looks to be heating up at a perfect time, as five of the next seven games are against Metropolitan teams.
Vastly underappreciated is an understatement and frankly, when you watch a player succeed throughout their entire career and hope for them to be recognized for their greatness and they don't? It’s infuriating.
The more I think about it, it’s infuriating that the only time Claude Giroux gets recognized for his greatness is when he hits a career milestone.— Brooke Destra (@BrookeNBCS) February 19, 2020
The captain is elite. He has carried this team for over a decade. Put some respect on his name now and every day.
The word elite either resonated with followers or struck a nerve with them. But it’s rather simple — Giroux is elite.
There are only a few in the league who are able to hold that title, and it doesn’t just come down to the numbers put up by them. It’s a combination of skill, leadership, how they handle themselves off the ice and so much more.
Still don’t think he’s elite? Let’s take a look at a few things:
Through the decade
Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Giroux ranks in the top among most stats:
1st overall in assists (507)
1st in power play points (286)
4th overall in points (734)
4th in faceoff win percentage (55.6 percent) for players with 700-plus games
6th overall in games played (754)
His name falls in line with Alex Oveckin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and John Tavares but rarely gets the media attention it deserves.
It was certainly a fun moment a handful of games ago to see Giroux take the spotlight during a national broadcast when the Flyers won on the road against the Capitals. From the moment the night began, everyone was on Ovechkin watch — as the player was just two goals shy of reaching the 700-goal mark of his career. That didn’t happen (and it still hasn’t, as he is currently in a five-game pointless stretch) but do you know what did? Giroux reached 800 points for his career instead.
It was truly a fun turn of events, when the highlights of the game were all on the captain and his new milestone after the orange and black won.
Another huge moment for Giroux on the season came just a few nights ago — when he passed Flyers legend Bobby Clarke for the new franchise record of power play assists. Giroux now solely holds first with 235 power play assists … and he did so in quite a statement move.
Giroux ➡️ Konecny ➡️ Voracek— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 19, 2020
Giroux set up this whole thing from his knees 🤯 pic.twitter.com/acT72QXX1h
In addition to that, he’s just 20 power play points shy of tying Clarke for most in the franchise — a record that will be reached in just a matter of time. It most likely would’ve already happened if he had never moved off the left side of the top unit, but it’s another countdown to keep an eye on.
He’s also 20 games shy of 900 games played in his career. The list goes on and on and on …
Off the ice matters, too
Giroux also tends to be overlooked when it comes to just how valuable his leadership skills are, especially with quite the amount of young players on the current team. He looks out for them, helps them improve their skill sets and build their confidence.
A moment that stood out, especially from this most recent season, comes from the “Behind the Glass” series that aired on the NHL Network. The final moments of this video, where Giroux and goaltender Carter Hart had a moment before heading back out following an intermission.
It was a look at what happens behind closed doors. What happens when there are no cameras on the players or media in the room. Moments like that don’t go unnoticed.
And remember that Capitals game just mentioned where he earned his 800th career point? Postgame, he was just happy he was able to contribute to the win and made sure to credit his teammates over anything else.
It’s a simple fix, really
The truth of the matter is, if Giroux had a Cup to his name, this debate wouldn’t even be a debate. Everyone would agree that he should be ranked as a top-tiered player over the course of most recent years. Until that moment arrives, it’ll unfortunately be a discussion that will continue to be had.
Also, if you take a look at the talent Giroux has played alongside, compared to the talent alongside say Ovechkin and Crosby — who knows where his numbers would be? Odds are, a lot higher.
For Philadelphia fans, they know what their captain has done for this franchise throughout his time here. It’s only a matter of time before others around the league start to see it as well.
And boy, what a feeling that will be.
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