Nov 7, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Devils defeated the Flyers, 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Claude Giroux's Olympic Hopes

Oct 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) skates off the ice after losing to the Vancouver Canucks at Wells Fargo Center. The Canucks defeated the Flyers, 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the season, it seemed all but certain that Claude Giroux was a lock for Team Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Sochi. Then, Giroux failed to score a goal until his 16th game, posting only 7 points in that stretch, all assists. Giroux seems to have found his game in the month of December, as he has posted 12 points in the 9 games his Philadelphia Flyers have played this month, along with 5 goals, the most he’s scored in any month, and the Flyers still have 5 games to go before January. In the Flyer’s most recent game, Giroux scored his 8th and 9th goals of the year, as well as posting two assists. Giroux now has 30 points in 35 games, and has helped his team rise to 3rd in the Metropolitan division after an abysmal start to the year.

Giroux can play as a center or a right winger, which is good news for him if he hopes to play on Team Canada. Team Canada has always been insanely strong down the middle, but Giroux has the talent that could see him be one of the natural centers not to be shifted to the wing, but rather to play at his natural position. On the other side of that argument, Giroux has played right wing many times in his career, and that could allow for another center to play in between Giroux and someone else on the left wing. Seven on the top ten centers in scoring in the NHL are Canadian. Giroux is tied for 11th on that list. Giroux is also tied for 11th in NHL scoring for all Canadian skaters. Giroux has tremendous playmaking abilities as well as an innate goal scoring ability that can’t be overlooked when deciding wether or not to put him on the team. Giroux was one of 25 forwards invited to Canada’s orientation camp this summer, and he has represented his country twice before, though never at the Olympic level.

I believe that Claude Giroux will represent Canada this year in Sochi. Despite an awful start to the season, Giroux has regained his confidence and composure, and is now putting up stats that resemble his tremendous skills. Giroux is touted for all of his offensive abilities, but he doesn’t get enough credit for his play in his own end of the rink. Giroux is a penalty killer and has played a big role in mentoring Sean Couturier into the two-way forward he is today. Giroux is also a leader on his team, as he was awarded the captaincy before the start of the 2012-2013 season. When his team was struggling, Giroux was the first to own up to it, and when they’re doing well, he praises his teammates and coaches for helping the team. You can never have too many leaders in a locker room and by adding Claude Giroux, Team Canada will have one more leader to represent their nation.

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Tags: 2014 Sochi Olympics Claude Giroux Team Canada

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