As is wont to happen when friends likes sports, the Sons of Saxer staff was talking about the Flyers. What’s wrong? Can it be fixed? Who is to blame? Whenever these questions get asked, fingers get pointed in one of three places–the GM, the coach or the captain.
While one of our staff remains unimpressed with Hextall and I find myself questioning Hakstol, we both realized the Claude Giroux takes a lot of (unwarranted) flak.
Flyers fans are impatient. I don’t understand why. The team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in over 40 years, yet each year, fans expect the team to not only compete, but win. When one of their star players isn’t playing up to expectations, they hear it. That’s the case with Giroux.
Giroux is second on the team in points with 41 (12g, 29a) which lands him at 49th among players in the league. 41 points is nothing to scoff at, especially in this day in age when scoring 100 points in an 82 game season is becoming increasingly difficult with goalies getting bigger and better. But many fans see Giroux as one of the top players in the league, likely from when former coach Peter Laviolette called him the best player in the world.
And there my friends lies the problem.
Giroux is, for sure, an exceptional talent. He’s got great vision, a sharp release and can play a full game. But that doesn’t make him a Crosby or a McDavid. He’s a step below.
Hopefully you didn’t just smash your phone/computer/tablet when you read that. Maybe you’re internally screaming that I’m a moron. Admittedly, that’s a possibility. But the fact is, lowering expectations on Giroux is what fans need to do.
Giroux’s best years were when he was paired with Scott Hartnell. Since finishing with 93 points in 2011-12, Giroux’s point totals have decreased each year. Is that Giroux’s fault? Does the blame simply lie with him? Or does not having teammates around him to help more to blame?
Keep in mind, Giroux goes against team’s top defensive pairs night in and night out. Why? Because what other line on the Flyers is going to hurt you? Giroux is a focus. The Flyers don’t have enough talent top to bottom to make teams second guess who should be eliminated. And therein lies the problem.
Giroux clearly has talent. If you don’t think so, get your head checked. But expecting him to put up 100+ points every year and not struggle when he has only a little help around him is unrealistic. Let G do his thing. He’ll be fine.