Giroux didn’t have hope for Team Canada, because he ‘didn’t want to be disappointed again’


Flyers captain Claude Giroux was passed over for Team Canada for a second time on Thursday — the spot vacated by Steve Stamkos’ injury went to Martin St. Louis — but to hear Giroux explain it, he never even allowed himself to think he was in the running.

“I didn’t give myself hope,” Giroux said, per the Courier-Post. “I didn’t want to be disappointed again.”

Giroux, 26, was clearly disappointed after his name wasn’t called during the original Team Canada roster announcement on Jan. 7. He was one of the most notable forwards left off the list — along with St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Eric Staal and James Neal — and told CSN Philly it was tough hearing the news.

“I’m disappointed but not upset or mad. It’s tough, tough today,” he explained. “In my mind I wanted to make the team. Like I said, it is disappointing.”

Giroux was thought to be on a shortlist to replace Stamkos and, based on his play of late, figured to garner heavy consideration for a spot in Sochi. Giroux has 17 points in 15 games since being left off and has played some tremendous hockey over the last two months. According to CSN Philly, no player in the NHL has more points than Giroux (30) since Dec. 17.

In the end, though, Hockey Canada opted for a more veteran presence with international experience. St. Louis represented Canada at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and was on the stand-by list for the ’10 games in Vancouver. St. Louis also has a rather unique relationship with Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman, who serves as the GM in Tampa and was under heavy scrutiny after leaving St. Louis off the Canadian team on Jan. 7.

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado