A Short & Sweet Letter to 97.5FM's Mike Gill About Claude Giroux >

by Michael DeNicola

Monday, May 05, 2014 --

I'll make this quick...

I want to try to avoid the "Philly sports-talk radio doesn't know hockey" mumbo jumbo, but over the weekend 97.5's Mike Gill went on a rampage about Claude Giroux, questioning his star status and insinuating that he has a ceiling below elite (or "clutch", as the term has been pitched around). 

What sparked the convo was his watching Patrick Kane net two-goals in his game against the Wild -- and with that note, I want to avoid the "Because it was Bryzgalov" crap, too.  

Gill wanted to ask his listeners (particularly Flyers fans) to think objectively before answering to his criticism, which is fair. He had also gone on a tangent about lost faceoffs, a lack of goal production and leadership qualities pertaining to our Captain throughout the QuarterFInals. Once he was finished doing that, Mike Gill shot down the "Crosby, goal-less Playoff" springboard to any retort, excusing it because "Sid's still playing, and Giroux's watching."

If Gill is after attention, well... he got it from me. I'm not sure how he can overlook the fact that Giroux's third in the postseason points race in his last three consecutive Playoffs. Or the fact that he started out the first 15-games this season without a goal, only 7-points, and still wound up 3rd in points behind Crosby & Getzlaf. That despite playing on a team with inconsistent defense, pedestrian backchecking, and 20th in goals-allowed per game (2.77), Giroux managed a +7 rating. Or, if you're into analytics, the highest majority of his linemates took a big dip in possession metrics when on the ice without Giroux.

I didn't bother calling in. I only listened for 15-minutes, and frankly... I didn't trust myself to not tell the guy to mule-kick himself in the pills and save us his heated rhetoric. 

You don't have to tell me the Flyers disappointed us in the Playoffs, or that the season wasn't a success despite making the comeback that we did from a horrific start. All that matters is the Stanley Cup. But Claude is absolutely a key piece to this team, both on and off the ice. If you want to draw a Playoff comparison between a goal-scorer (Kane) and a playmaker (Giroux), and act like it's that cut & dry, be my guest; enjoy your coloring books.

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