Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 -
We were all kind of expecting Giroux to be named the Flyers 19th Captain in Club history on Thursday when our boys took to the Wells Fargo ice for an open practice in front of fans. Instead, GM Paul Holmgren pulled an executive decision and threw the 'C' on Claude's sweater Tuesday evening.
Nevertheless, this entire fanbase could not be happier for the 25-year old skater, and wish him nothing but continued success moving forward.
This city has a relationship with its Captain. Bobby Clarke obviously holds the status to an extremely high standard, seeing as how he was this franchise's Chief through our only two Stanley Cup wins. We take our Captains seriously, and over the clip of three years the world's had a chance to watch Giroux graduate levels of stardom annually, and this city's had the chance to call him our own.
Despite Claude being the best candidate to wear the 'C', this move comes with its fair share of controversy. Though you wouldn't hear a peep of negativity from his teammates, there are a minority of fanatics who believe it was too soon for #28 to be the skipper of this ship. They like to draw a parallel between Giroux and former Captain, now LA King, Mike Richards. The argument there is that the Captaincy changed Richards' attitude and demeanor. If you recall, it never took a genius to discover that our dressing room was divided between Richards and then-newcomer Chris Pronger. It was a clash of leaderships, sort of like having two steering wheels at the helm of the same automobile.
I won't pretend to know all that went on behind closed doors two or three seasons ago. Just because you load a dressing room full of talent doesn't mean it would form an unconventional matrix of sheer accomplishment.
As Herb Brooks once put it, "I'm not looking for the best players. I'm looking for the right ones."
Last season we saw an entire group of individuals playing as a unit for the first time. The development of camaraderie and chemistry surprised us all, yet, at the same time, sucked us in with them. There wasn't a player on the Flyers we did not love to their core because each of them took ownership of the team in their own way. It was evident.
If there's one thing this sports town loves, it's a player on their team who pours his sweat, blood and heart all over his respective theater of war. And that's exactly what we got from skaters like Max Talbot, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere, and Claude Giroux. All of which shared the alternate 'A' stitched on their sweaters through the season.
From this core of dignitaries rose Claude Giroux who's captured the respect and trust from his peers. In unison, his teammates voiced their approval, and the product of that collaboration comes our 19th Captain, Mr. Claude Giroux.
I admit, "G" was not my first choice for mainstream reasons. But after the issue has been laid to rest and the decision's been made, one must realize that if Giroux cannot continue to develop AND Captain this roster, then he'll never be as elite as we all believe him to be.
To quote Bobby Clarke --
"If you aren't ready to be a Captain on the first shift of your career, you don't belong in the NHL."
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