The Flyers can’t believe their captain isn’t going to Sochi.
Following news that Claude Giroux was passed over for the Canadian Olympic team, several of Giroux’s teammates jumped to his defense and criticized the decision, per the Philadelphia Daily News:
“Shocking,” Brayden Schenn described it.
“I think it sucks,” Wayne Simmonds said. “Over the last month and a half, to two months, with the exception of our slow start as a team, he’s [bleeping] led our team.”
“I think everyone was disappointed,” Scott Hartnell said. “He deserves to be on that team.”
Giroux had an admittedly slow start to the season — it took him over a month to score his first goal — but has come on recently and is a big reason why Philly has gone 20-10-4 since its rough opening to the campaign.
Giroux had 19 points in 14 December games and ripped off a nine-game point streak, in which he scored six goals and 11 assists. He was also a major catalyst in the club’s first four-game winning stretch of the season and scored this highlight-reel beauty against Columbus:
Giroux seemed upset, but relatively reserved in describing his emotions following the roster announcement.
“It was one of my dreams to play for Team Canada,” Giroux told CSN Philly. “A lot of good players in Canada, a lot of talent, so, obviously, it is disappointing.”
Update: Brian Engblom caught up with Giroux before tonight’s NBCSN game against the New Jersey Devils for a little more:
While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.
Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes–Ryan Spooner–Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly–Joonas Kemppainen–Zac Rinaldo
The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.
So, where is Krejci’s game now?
Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.
So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?
On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.
So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?
“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks