Claude Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers’ dynamic alternate captain and one of the new faces of the NHL, could soon be bringing his smile and skills to some European hockey league.
As he watches his NHL colleagues head to Europe to wait out the lockout, the 24-year-old centre from Hearst, Ont., said he’s getting ready to join them.
“I was going to wait a little bit more and see what happens, but you know what – I just want to play hockey right now,” he said on Tuesday, after an informal skate in Kanata.
“It looks like we’re not really moving forward, and it’s kind of frustrating.
“Right now I just want to play hockey, and when the season does come back, if it does, I want to make sure I’m in good shape, so it’s a good option for me to go play somewhere.”
He and his agent have been talking about possible destinations, but, apart from saying he wants to play in the best league that will take him, Giroux stickhandled around the specifics.
“It’s my job to play hockey and it’s too bad that right now we don’t have the best league in the world to play in,” he said.
“All the guys are frustrated, and hopefully we can get an agreement real soon.
“I’m a little bored here just working out and want to go back to playing in games and just having that rush of playing in a hockey game.
“I mean, when you have to get used to doing nothing, it’s not really fun.
“This summer’s getting to be a little too long right now.”
Giroux, who was scheduled to receive $3.5 million this season, had his best season last year with 28 goals and 65 assists in 77 regular-season games. In 10 playoff games, he had eight goals and nine assists.
After the Flyers were bumped from the playoffs, Giroux had surgery on both wrists, surgery that he blamed on the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby.
“Those are from (Sidney) Crosby,” Giroux said in a July interview.
“Every time we’d line up against each other for a face-off during our (2012 playoff) series, instead of going for the puck when it was dropped, he’d hack me across the wrists.
“I ended up playing the series against (New) Jersey with one of them fractured and had to go for surgery on both of them after we were out of the playoffs.”
Asked how his wrists were faring under the informal practice skates, he said they were fine.
“(The surgery) was like two months ago,” he said.
“I’m all good now.”