Claude Giroux Not Concerned With The Points

5 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — Claude Giroux was sitting at the top of the NHL scoring leaderboard, tied with Phil Kessel heading into Monday night’s action. He knows this. He looks at the standings occasionally, but the challenge isn’t scoring more goals or racking up assists. It’s to not pay attention.

“I think anyone would like to win that,” said Giroux who has 15 goals and 17 assists in 25 games. “It’s only 25 games into the season; there’s a lot of hockey left to play. I’ve got other things to worry about.”

But it’s significant in team history because the last Flyer to lead the NHL in points after 25-plus games was Eric Lindros, who in the 1998-99 season was tied for the lead with 43 points after 33 games. He was tied with Jaromir Jagr who ironically has helped Giroux get a good number of his points this year. He was out for a few games with a groin injury, but Giroux is happy to have him back.

“It helps a lot,” said Giroux. “Obviously he’s got a great shot. He means a lot to this team. To be able to have him in the lineup obviously helps a lot.’’

Now, it seems that Giroux is filling in well to the spot that Jagr used to have.

“There’s lots of good hockey players in the league,” said Peter Laviolette, “but there’s always a few players that take that next step and they push to become the elite players in the league. I wouldn’t think it would be shocking that Claude’s done that.”

In his fourth season with significant time, Giroux is without question the team’s offensive leader and a sure-fire All-Star. But the Flyers have been spreading the offensive wealth this year, so it’s probably a bit much to ask of him to be the NHL’s leading scorer. That’s a title no Flyer has ever held.

“I didn’t know that. It’s a long season,” said Giroux. “Obviously there are a lot of games to play. I’m not really looking at that.”

And if he wants any part in the scoring title, he really can’t focus on the stats. For him, the important thing is to keep playing his game, one that mixes his incredible stickwork with a physical element that isn’t seen from many skill players. For that, he fits the Flyers’ system quite well.

“There are some players with their experience and with their maturity and with their physical development, they continue to take steps,” said Laviolette. “And that’s when it starts to really weed down and become a few select players, and for me Claude is one of those players.”

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