VOORHEES, N.J. – Claude Giroux says he isn’t hurt.
Despite not having scored a goal since the Flyers’ second game of the season and appearing almost invisible at times through many of the games that have followed, the team captain said he’s feeling fine – and had nothing more to say on the matter.
He is not, however, satisfied with the effort he’s put forth on the ice.
“Obviously, I’m not happy with my game,” Giroux said after Thursday’s rare team practice. “But it’s only seven games. It’s a long season. I’m staying positive, and things are going to turn around pretty quick.”
Giroux hasn’t looked like his old self in recent days. He’s been slow on the backcheck and hasn’t been able to make the plays he’s become known for. It has led to plenty of speculation about whether the 25-year-old might be nursing a minor injury, perhaps his wrist or groin – something that wouldn’t affect his ability to practice or to play, but might affect the outcome when he does.
That’s not the case, according to Giroux. He’s not sure what is. He is simply disappointed with his results.
“I’m not playing the way I want to on the ice,” he said. “But it’s early in the season, usually you get preseason games and stuff. But I’m staying positive here. I’m sure we’ll get back on track soon.”
The Flyers need him to. Seven games in, with a 2-5 record, the team ranks toward the bottom of the league in shots on net, power-play effectiveness, penalty-kill percentage and goals per game. The list goes on.
As captain, Giroux has elected to keep his chin up. The rest of the team has, for the most part, followed suit.
“It's not the start we wanted, but we have to deal with it right now,” Giroux said. “It's only seven games. In a season, you will have a little slump like that. Maybe it is good that it is happening right off the bat.
“The guys are positive here. Everybody came to the rink with a smile on their face and happy that we are playing hockey.”
In an effort to jump-start Giroux, coach Peter Laviolette moved Danny Briere up onto the top line with him at Thursday’s practice (see story). The duo spent some time together in Tuesday’s loss to the New York Rangers, generating some of the team’s best chances.
The two are expected to play on the first line Friday in Washington, D.C., along with Wayne Simmonds. Laviolette is hopeful the new combination can find some chemistry, and fast.
"I think everybody’s gotta get going in the right direction," Laviolette said. "Certainly, Claude is one of those players that can change a game. But if it’s just Claude that shows up in Washington, we’re going to be in trouble.
"Everybody’s got to play a little bit better and do a little bit more."
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