There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being the best player on the Flyers. That pressure is magnified when you’re also the captain of the Flyers.
Combine those two things with an underperforming team and a personal 15-game goal-less drought to start the season and it’s basically an apocalyptic Philadelphia hockey crisis.
Good thing Claude Giroux has the phone number of a guy who walked down that road fairly recently.
In an interview with NHL.com, Giroux admitted that texts he received from former Flyers captain and current Los Angeles King Mike Richards helped him calm down and get back to the way he’s capable of playing.
“It wasn’t going right, and I got a nice text from Mike Richards,” Giroux told NHL.com before last night’s game against Senators, a game in which he scored his second goal of the season in a 5-2 Flyers win. “I think he gave me a boost to relax and play the game.”
Richards’ ups and downs during his tenure as Flyers captain were well-documented. Do a quick Google search of “Dry Island” for just a small sampling.
The 25-year-old Giroux didn’t reveal what the texts from Richards said but did say they came a little before he scored his first goal of the season during a 4-2 win over the Oilers at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 9.
Starting with that victory over the Oilers, Giroux has scored two goals and added three assists in his past five games. He’s also fired 19 shots on net in those five games. He’d recorded just 21 shots on goal in his previous 11 games.
It should come as no surprise that the Flyers are 4-0-1 in their last five games.
Giroux continued, “Just to hear it from [Richards], it kind of just made me relax and make me think about how I’m lucky enough to play this game for a living. I’m in one of the great organizations and we have fans that cheer their heart out… I talk to him once in a while, but yeah, he obviously played here; he was captain. It was nice for him to reach out and talk to me a little bit.”
Oh, that Richie. Even with a Kings’ Stanley Cup ring in tow, he’s still warming the hearts of Flyer fans all the way from the beaches of sunny Southern California.