Were it up to Flyers captain Claude Giroux, he would much rather be preparing for the second round of the playoffs today against Pittsburgh than being told he’s up for an award.
One day after the Flyers were eliminated in seven games by the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, Giroux was announced as one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy.
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf are the other two finalists.
The Hart is given annually to the player “judged to be the most valuable to his team,” as voted upon by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The winner will be announced on June 24 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
This is the first time Giroux has been a Hart finalist in his seven NHL seasons.
"To be nominated is a great honor," Giroux said I couldn't have done it without all my teammates and coaching staff. To be able to bounce back after the slow start that we had this year, it was obviously a very fun time."
Eric Lindros was the last Flyer to win the award during the 1994-95 season, while Bobby Clarke is the only Flyer in team history to have won it multiple times -- 1972-73, 1974-75, 1975-76.
"I think his nomination is very well-deserved," Flyers coach Craig Berube said of Giroux. "He is the captain and leader of our team and he obviously had a terrific season. The team was in a tough situation early on and he led our team out of that hole and he went on to have a great year. Very well-deserved."
This past season, the 26-year-old Giroux finished third in NHL scoring with 86 points while matching his career-high in goals (28). He was a major factor in the Flyers' climbing out of their 1-7 early-season start.
"Claude is one on the best players in the National Hockey League and he certainly deserves to be nominated," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He was a major reason for the turnaround in our season and he was consistently one of the top players on the ice night in and night out."
Giroux actually went the first 15 games without scoring a goal. He tallied 79 of his 86 points over the final 67 games of the season, averaging 1.18 points per game. Among his highlights this season were a career-best nine-game point streak and his 100th NHL goal.
“I think we do have to be proud of what we did,” Giroux said after the Flyers were eliminated on Wednesday.
“To be in last place and to be able to come back and everybody get back on the same page, we had a lot of fun doing it, making the playoffs. Right now it stings a little bit, well, a lot.”
This should help take a bit of the bite off, but not much.
Giroux becomes the fifth Flyer to be named a finalist for the Hart. Both Clarke and Lindros finished second in the voting in 1977 and 1996, respectively. Goaltenders Bernie Parent (second in 1974) and Pelle Lindbergh (third in 1985) were also finalists. Giroux was fourth in the voting in 2011-12.
Crosby scored 36 goals for the Penguins this season and led the NHL in both assists (68) and points (104) to win his second Art Ross Trophy. Crosby is a four-time Hart finalist.
Getzlaf scored a career-high 31 goals and was second in the NHL with 87 points as Anaheim finished with the best record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. He is a Hart finalist for the first time.
CSNPhilly.com had Giroux as a Hart finalist on its ballot this season.