Claude Giroux draws praise for big game poise

girouxclaude.jpgWith speed, skill and general skating ability coming to the forefront since the lockout imposed rule changes (or at least increased enforcement), the NHL has become a young man’s game again. Just look at all the best players right now; from Sidney Crosby to Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane, almost all of the league’s marquee stars haven’t hit their mid-20s yet.

So perhaps that takes some of the shock away from 22-year old Claude Giroux’s breakout playoff performance. He’s third on the Philadelphia Flyers during the playoffs with an impressive 17 points. But beyond his production, Giroux is receiving praise from his teammates for his big-game performances.

Giroux is even earning accolades from veterans such as Ian Laperriere, whose remarks evoke memories of people putting straws in people’s milkshakes.

“I wish I was drinking his water,” Laperriere, a gritty, energy-line forward, told “This kid is unreal. He’s shifty and he is such a player. The best thing about him is the bigger the game is the better he is and that is rare for a 22-year-old.

“He’s one of those kids, you think he did the greatest move one day and he does a better move on the next shift. The bigger the game is, the bigger his game is and that is good news for us.”

If that’s true, then expect Giroux to put up big numbers in the Stanley Cup finals.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?