Coming off an extremely disappointing first season as the Flyers captain, all Claude Giroux wanted to do this summer was take a mental vacation and condition himself to be in the best shape of his life for training camp.
A funny thing happened on the way to showing up in Philly, however, when Giroux’s ‘vacation’ turned into disaster. On August 15th, while golfing in Ottawa, the shaft of his club shattered and splintered into his right hand, cutting two tendons on his index finger.
Giroux, an excellent golfer with an eight handicap, realizes that the freak ‘accident’ has been questioned by fans and media alike. ‘Lots of people don’t believe my story, but that’s what really happened,’ the 25-year-old French Canadian said on Wednesday. ‘It was just a freaky thing.’
Emergency surgery was performed at Ottawa Civic Hospital to fix the tendon damage, with a splint on his right index finger being the only visible remnant of the accident.
Giroux is back in town, working out at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey. Unfortunately, he can only skate, as shooting a puck is still several weeks away in his rehab. ‘Right now, I just focus on my rehab. I will be ready for the season, but I am not going to force it,’ Giroux told CSNPhilly.com.
The 5’ 11” center is entering his fifth full season in the NHL, and is the cornerstone of the Flyers’ franchise. A two-time NHL All-Star, Giroux has previously been referred to as ‘the best player in the world’ by coach Peter Laviolette.
After not qualifying for the playoffs last year, ‘G’ as he is nicknamed, and the rest of his teammates have a lot to prove this season. Off-season additions of veteran defenseman Mark Streit, along with previous Stanley Cup winners Vincent Lecavalier and Ray Emery should complement the Flyers’ young core.
‘Really this is probably the season I am most excited about, too. It’s a young team that wants to prove last year was pretty tough … We just have to do that work on the ice,’ Giroux said.
The holder of the Flyers franchise record for points in a Stanley Cup Playoff game, Giroux’s shining career moment came while outplaying Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in the 2012 Playoffs. However, he knows that to truly deserve the title of ‘best player in the world’, the only series worth winning is the Cup Finals.
Flyers’ fans are hopeful that Giroux will be ready to start the march towards the Cup when the puck drops against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 2nd.