Claude Giroux named Flyers team captain

Claude Giroux named Flyers team captain
January 15, 2013, 1:41 pm
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Claude Giroux was named the 19th captain of the Flyers on Tuesday night.

The club had considered doing it Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center during the Flyers' open-house practice but changed its mind when word began to leak out.

Giroux, who turned 25 earlier this month, inherits the C from Chris Pronger, who has not played a game since November 2011 because of post-concussion syndrome.

"Its not going to change my game or the way I act on the ice or off the ice," Giroux said Tuesday afternoon at training camp. "We have a lot of leaders in this locker room, and a lot of veterans."

Naming a captain is a long time in the making. Though it's been since Nov. 19, 2011 when Pronger last played, the Flyers had held off on naming a replacement for him. As last season wore on, it became more and more clear that Giroux was the obvious choice for the role.

"Hes a great talent, Ive played against him for a couple years in the same division, so I see what he can bring," Ruslan Fedotenko said. "Hes a strong leader on the ice."

Last week during the player-only workouts at Skate Zone before the lockout officially ended, Giroux, who has had a commanding influence in the dressing room, was talking and acting very much like a captain.

In many ways, hes been just that for coach Peter Laviolette and teammates during Prongers long absence. He has grown significantly on and off the ice in the past few years.

"He sure has," Laviolette said. "There was a lot of deep players here when I got here, with regard to talent -- Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne. Scott Hartnell was still here. There was lots of players, and he was still a young kid.

"You go back to that first playoff that we were here, we went to the finals and he was a real contributing factor for us. And then you just watch him rise the next season, and then even more in the playoffs last year, he took it to a new level in the playoffs this year. Its been fun to watch him develop and grow as a player, and he really has blossomed in this organization."

Giroux has grown considerably since his first full season with the Flyers in 2008-09 when he played in 42 games, had 27 points and displayed a keen sense that he was going to do something special during the playoffs that season against Pittsburgh.

Look at his goal progression since then: nine goals, 16, 25 and last season, 28, plus a team-high 93 points -- the first player to do hit that plateau since Eric Lindros.

Richards was a very young and very immature 23 when he got the C. Giroux is two years older and much wiser, having watched and studied under Richards.

Hes better prepared to handle the job.

There has been no longevity to the Flyers captain position since 2000. Giroux is now the eighth captain in the past 12 seasons. Thats an unusually high number for hockey.

In most cases, the captaincy for the Flyers has changed because of injury.

You always want a captain that is around a while and has longevity, club chairman Ed Snider said on Tuesday before the announcement.

Will Giroux make a good captain?

Is he gonna be captain? Its not for me to say at this point, Snider laughed.

Everything suggests Giroux will be a very good one.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net and Sarah Baicker at sbaicker@comcastsportsnet.com.