If Claude Giroux, at age 26, is not yet the Most Valuable Player in the NHL, he has entered the discussion as a finalist with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf for the Hart Trophy that will be awarded in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
The Penguins and Ducks both went one round farther than the Flyers in the playoffs, but that was after the writers had cast their ballots. This is a regular season award but even so, Anaheim and Pittsburgh accumulated 22 and 15 more points this season than Philadelphia, which will be hard for Giroux to overcome when the tallies are announced. The value of the player to his team, which voters are instructed to use as the prime criteria, always is reflected in the value of the team itself.
But notwithstanding Anaheim’s and Pittsburgh’s division titles and Crosby’s NHL scoring championship, we still make this case for the Flyers’ No. 28:
The Flyers had the harder season than the Penguins and Anaheim, which required the most leadership to save it.
Of course, the start was bad in part because Giroux, coming off an off-season wrist mishap, didn’t score a goal until his 16th game but, because he didn’t panic, neither did the team.
At the Flyers’ low ebb, their captain announced they would make the playoffs and, thanks to him, they did.
"We'll take it game-by-game and we will make the playoffs," said Giroux after practice on Oct. 21
FLASHBACK: Watch Giroux talk to the media on Oct. 21 and state they will make the playoffs...