With the Philadelphia Flyers — barring a miracle — set to miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, it’s inevitable that the talk surrounding the team will be centered on what’s wrong and, to an extent, who is to blame.
A recent NJ.com article argued that while Giroux is clearly an elite player, he might not be the right choice for captain going forward. Among other things, Giroux was criticized for seemingly not feeling “comfortable answering tough questions during tough times.”
Wayne Simmonds didn’t appreciate those assertions.
“That’s [expletive],” Wayne Simmonds told the Philadelphia Daily News. “It has nothing to do with team leadership or how good of a captain he is. He goes out there every single shift and plays his heart out. For (that writer) to even speculate that ‘G’ is not a good leader is a joke. It’s embarrassing.”
This comes at a time when Flyers GM Ron Hextall has openly stated that the Flyers locker room leadership needs to be reevaluated, given the team’s inconsistency this season. However, Hextall made it clear he wasn’t singling out Giroux.
“No, leadership doesn’t come down to one guy anymore,” Hextall said, per CSN Philly. “Those days are gone. It’s a group. It’s typically your older players.
“Middle-age guys can add to it. It’s five, six, seven guys on a team that typically depend on the bulk of your leadership. Not one guy or three guys for that matter.”
Perhaps the solution is to add one or more players that can help support Giroux and the existing leadership group given that veterans Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell are no longer with the squad. That’s just one of the options available for Hextall to consider as he tries to turn the Flyers back into a serious playoff contender.