Giroux debuts as captain at Flyers' open practice

Giroux debuts as captain at Flyers' open practice
January 18, 2013, 3:20 am
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The Flyers were about to come out on the ice with Claude Giroux leading the way.As Giroux hit the ice from the tunnel, Scott Hartnell held everyone back.Giroux skated to the red line before he even realized he was skating alone amid a standing ovation from roughly 15,000 fans.Kimmo (Timonen) and I were kind of messing with him, Hartnell said. We were pretending we were walking behind him.Then, I think he kind of knew what was going on. He did a little skate out there by himself, so that was pretty funny.Girouxs teammates wanted his debut as the teams new captain to be solely his moment.With the lockout and everything that happened, its good to see the fans came out, Giroux said. Theyre pretty jacked up for the season. I wouldnt think anything less from Flyer fans. Theyre behind us 100 percent.Giroux sought to deflect attention away from himself.You know, new captain, let him have his fame out there, Sean Couturier said.Never in the history of this arena have so many people attended a Flyers practice.Again, it goes to show you that while the lockout may have had a decidedly negative impact in some cities -- Columbus season-ticket sales are way down -- it had virtually no impact in Philadelphia because Flyer fans are lockout proof.Its not something normal that happens, but they warmed us up on opening day of camp with a few thousand, coach Peter Laviolette said of the fans.It was great to see. Its different for us to run a practice like that and be down here at this big rink. It was good in a lot of ways.There are new players here and it gives them an opportunity to get the feel of the locker room and the new building, and break our new players in a little bit.Prospect Scott Laughton, who sources said will start the season here (see story), was impressed.It was kind of like a game-like atmosphere and it was nice to get out there, Laughton said.It was my first time being at the Wells Fargo Center, so it was nice to get in the room with all the guys and it was nice to get on the ice.Couturier called it pretty special.Going out there and seeing all of the fans happy and cheering us was a pretty cool feeling, he said. It was a fun night.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net.