Since April of last year, it was not a matter of if Claude Giroux would become captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, but when.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 was the answer.
Giroux becomes the 19th captain in Flyers history. He will be taking over for Chris Pronger, who unfortunately may never play in the NHL again due to post-concussion syndrome.
Popular belief was that Giroux would be named the captain during the open practice at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night, that way the announcement could be made in front of the fans.
But according to a tweet by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, General Manager Paul Holmgren already told Giroux he was the new captain days in advance.
"Holmgren said he actually told Giroux a few days ago he was the captain. G was coy with media today and didn't reveal it.In the team's official press release, Holmgren said that Giroux " is the undisputed leader of this team."
- Sam Carchidi, @BroadStBull
“He always exhibits a tremendous work ethic in games and practices," Holmgren said. "He is a great professional both on and off the ice."
"Claude has learned a lot over the past few years playing with Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger, just to name a few. Having played with these athletes has been a huge benefit for Claude."
Holmgren also acknowledged that veterans like Daniel Briere and Kimmo Timonen were solid candidates for captaincy, but maintains the fact that "that this is Claude's time.”
Head Coach Peter Laviolette also believes that this is Giroux's time.
“Every day he practices and plays games like he wants to make a difference," Laviolette said. "After watching him grow for three-plus years, it’s now time for Claude to become the captain of this team.”
And what does Giroux himself have to say about becoming the captain?
“Obviously, this is a huge honor,” Giroux said. “There have been a lot of great captains here in the past. Along with this comes a lot of responsibility which I am prepared for. Being named captain is not really going to change the way I play on the ice and act off the ice. But I am very excited about this opportunity."
It became clear that Giroux, 25, would be the Flyers' next captain in the first round of last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After having his best regular season yet (28 goals and 65 assists for 93 points), Giroux became the Pittsburgh Penguins worst nightmare.
He scored six goals during the six game series in which the Flyers won four games to two. Three of those six goals were for a hat-trick in game two.
The last goal came in the now famous "first shift" in game six, when Giroux delivered a big hit on Penguins captain Sidney Crosby then rifled a shot past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the opening seconds of the game.
The Flyers won the game 5-1 to send the Penguins home, and Giroux's performance was enough for Laviolette to call him "the best player in the world," in the press conference following the game.
Giroux scored two more goals in the next series against the New Jersey Devils, but the Flyers ultimately came up short, losing the series 4-1. However, Giroux's eight goals were tied with teammate Daniel Briere for the most in the playoffs up until the Stanley Cup Finals.
Giroux's performance last year has established him as a superstar in the NHL and has earned him the cover spot on EA Sports' NHL 13, the third spot in TSN's list of the Top 50 NHL Players and now the title of Captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not bad considering Bobby Clarke forgot who he was drafting in 2006.
Video posted by mibro0224
The 'A' Team
Kimmo Timonen has been named the associate captain, and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere were named alternate captains according to Dave Isaac of the Camden Courier Post.
(Giroux Image from BleacherReport.net)
(Jersey Image from the Flyer's Facebook Page)
(Laviolette Video from NHL.com)