Now a leader, Giroux speaks with confidence

Now a leader, Giroux speaks with confidence
January 10, 2012, 6:29 pm
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- One revelation from HBOs 247 that came to light recently was how vocal Claude Giroux has become on the ice as team leader.

His coach, Peter Laviolette, said Giroux has always been a chatterbox.

His teammates, however, say when he talks now, he speaks with authority as an elite player and a serious candidate for the Hart Trophy, as well as the Art Ross, as the NHLs leading scorer.

Giroux has 48 points and is tied for second in the league in scoring with Torontos Phil Kessel.

The confidence he is getting on the ice, he brings off the ice, said Jaromir Jagr, a guy whos won both of those awards. Its understandable.

Maybe last year he didnt feel the same way because there were different guys who kind of led the team or when Prongs Chris Pronger was here. Now guys get traded, Prongs is out, you feel more responsible.

Indeed, with Mike Richards gone, Giroux is now the voice in the room as the teams rising star and on-ice warrior.

Leaders lead in different ways, said Girouxs other linemate, Scott Hartnell. Claude is at his best when he is playing the way he does. His attitude on the ice guys feed off that. Hes an engaging guy who wants the best out of everyone.

It started last year as Giroux began to become an emerging player in the shadow of Richards and Jeff Carter before being named as an All-Star. Giroux is again expected to be named to this years All-Star team on Thursday.

When he speaks up, even though he is young, people listen, Hartnell said.

Laviolette said he watched Giroux mature into a player who speaks with confidence now.

His confidence is displayed in a lot of ways, Laviolette said. Hes more vocal in the room. His confidence in the room and on the ice with his teammates and him knowing what he needs to do and taking charge in a game.

His confidence and work ethic in practice, all of those things lead up to leadership for me.

Giroux got into it with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in 247.

You going to let me score on you today? he asked Lundqvist at the game in Madison Square Garden.

That bench is a long way from that crease where Lundqvist was, Laviolette said, admitting he doesnt hear what players often say on the ice.

Nevertheless, it all translates in the room, Danny Briere said.

When you get more comfortable, youre not afraid to speak up, Briere said. His play has a lot to do with it. When you play as well as he does, you become a more talkative guy, more confident, when youre the best player in the league. Hes earned the right to do that.

Briere said what has changed most for Giroux is that he has become that elite player people felt he would become.

As such, that has allowed him to be the vocal leader you saw on HBO.
Loose pucks
Sergei Bobrovsky starts tonight against Carolina. Jaromir Jagr is still not 100 percent, but is playing. He admitted being scared in Sundays game at Ottawa because he had played off a groin injury without practice, but said he was either going to be scared there or scared here if he had waited till today to play again. I wanted to be back and I wanted to help, but I was scared to push it, Jagr said. I dont want to be out again in 10 days. Laviolette gave Scott Hartnell a huge endorsement to be named to the All-Star Team on Thursday, calling him the top forward in the NHL right now. Itd be criminal for him not to be on the team, he said.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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