Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/15/13 at 10:43 AM ET
from John Boruk of CSNPhilly,
Immediately after the Flyers disposed of their cross-state rival Penguins in six games in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, Giroux went from rising superstar to the king of the NHL mountain. His former coach, Peter Laviolette, rolled out one of those medieval catapults at his postgame press conference, and launched Giroux into a hockey stratosphere that has included The Great One and a select few who have been compared to Wayne Gretzky ever since.
“When the best player in the world comes up to you and tells you, ‘I don’t know who you plan on starting tonight, but I want that first shift.’ That says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux right there,” Laviolette said at the time.
As he stepped off the stage, Laviolette should have grabbed that pail of red paint used to touch up the goalposts, and applied a big, fat bulls-eye onto Giroux’s chest. “The best player in the world” line raised eyebrows and dropped jaws everywhere from Western Pennsylvania to the coastline of British Columbia. It may have come across as a compliment from a head coach to his most-gifted player, but Laviolette’s bold proclamation unloaded a monumental amount of pressure on the shoulders of the Flyers’ best player that simply wasn't needed.
“With that comment, Laviolette tried to move Giroux into the same zip code and neighborhood as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin,” Flyers analyst Al Morganti said. “As it turns out, Giroux is having trouble paying the higher taxes in terms of attention and tighter checking.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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