Putting On The Foil with @jsaquella: Yes, Claude Giroux is still Claude Giroux
Editors’ Note: Noted Philadelphia Flyers fan John Saquella is going beyond 140 characters. The man most of you probably know from social media as @jsaquella will bring you his wide-ranging opinion and commentary on the Orange and Black in his column Putting On The Foil.
By John Saquella (@jsaquella)
The simple fact that Claude Giroux’s position on Team Canada was ever in doubt is ridiculous. Giroux is the type of player that can take over a game. He’ll make amazing passes through four sets of opposing player’s legs. He’ll score highlight reel goals with spectacular moves.
He’s also been averaging over a point per game for the last 4 years, scoring 254 points in 246 games since the start of the 2010-11 season. Giroux is also a versatile player that can be used in pretty much any role/situation. He’s a dynamic PP QB. He’s a good penalty killer who gives a team an offensive threat while being a man down. He is a very capable face-off guy and has played RW in the past, which may be the best fit for Canada with it’s glut of centermen.
When considering Olympic candidates, it’d be nice if fans and media would take several years of stellar performance over 15 games of bad luck and playing through an injury.
-Steve Mason has played three straight strong games, beating the Wild, Oilers and Canucks. Hopefully for the Flyers, he’s found his early season mojo and put the bad luck and issue of December behind him. Because if the Flyers play defense like they did against the Canucks, they’ll need Mason at his best.
-Congrats to Michael Raffl on being named to the Austrian Olympic team. His play has helped spark the Flyers and he’s proven that he’s a NHL level player. Smart, willing to go into high traffic areas and be physical, the young free agent find has been a great addition by Paul Holmgren.
-Scratch Dion Phaneuf off the list of possible UFA targets for the Flyers. The Maple Leafs re-signed their captain and now the UFA market looks as bleak as the “view” from my hotel in Wilkes Barre, PA. I’m pretty sure the inventor of Prozac spent time here. But, I digress. The Flyers will have to try and land a top pair defenseman via trade.
-Now that the Christmas trade freeze is over, expect rumors to start cooking up…and for actual deals to go down. The first has happened, as the Flames dealt 2008 first round bust Greg Nemisz to Carolina for tough guy Kevin Westgarth. Westgarth continues Brian Burke’s latest “Circle Of Truculence” in Calgary. I do expect more deals before the end of January, as there are plenty of underachieving teams that still have a playoff shot.
Factor in injuries to contenders like Boston, and it’s almost certain that we’ll see business pick up soon.
Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and a fantastic 2014.