Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/17/13 at 06:42 AM ET
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Forget about the captaincy weighing him down. Giroux's slump is more tied to the fact he has lost his two big wingers from last year - Scott Hartnell and the ageless Jaromir Jagr.
Hartnell has played only three games because of a broken left foot. Jagr, who got tired of the Flyers' putting him on hold as they waited to see if they could sign Zach Parise, took the free-agent route to Dallas, where he is the Stars' top scorer with 11 points.
Minus his two linemates from a career-best season in which he finished third in the NHL with 93 points, Giroux has scuffled.
For many reasons.
For one, he has had more linemates than Die Hard has had sequels - and none have the size of Jagr, whose ability to win puck battles was uncanny, or Hartnell. For another, he has been frequently double-teamed and has a fraction of the open ice that was so common last season.
For a smooth skater with dazzling moves such as Giroux, open ice is paramount for creativity. Take it away and those eye-opening passes and clever maneuvers that trigger odd-man rushes become difficult.
Giroux has 3g, 10p and is -6 this season
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