Claude Giroux was wearing a Carleton Ravens sweater on the ice Wednesday, but that meant Philadelphia Flyers management and fans were breathing a little easier.
Giroux, the Flyers star centre who grew up in Orleans and starred with the Gatineau Olympiques, was practicing with the Ravens and fellow locked out NHL players; the first time he has skated since suffering a neck/shoulder injury while playing for the Berlin Polar Bears three weeks ago.
“I’m doing better, but it’s a process and I need to understand that,” said Giroux, who finished third in NHL scoring behind Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos last season, scoring 28 goals and 65 assists in 77 games. “(Tuesday) was my first day back in the gym and today was just a little skate, some flow drills and stuff. It was good, and hopefully, it keeps getting better.”
Giroux was on the ice for the full 90 minutes of the spirited workout, but he’s making no predictions on when he might possibly be ready to return to action, whether that’s in Philadelphia (if the NHL lockout ends) or back in Europe (if the lockout drags on).
“It’s hard to say right now,” said Giroux, who scored four goals and 15 assists in nine games with Berlin. “Obviously, I’m doing something every day to make sure I get back in game shape and I still have some things to make sure I’m 100 per cent.”
The incident which caused the injury wasn’t obvious to rinkside observers, but Giroux knew something was wrong immediately. He didn’t return to the ice.
“It was just a faceoff and I turned around and a guy – I don’t know if he saw me or not – elbowed me kind of in the neck and shoulder and right away I knew something was wrong,” he said, unsure whether the contact was accidental or not. “I didn’t want to risk anything and I wanted to make sure I’m 100 per cent if I do play.”
Giroux has since travelled to Atlanta to visit with neck specialist Dr. Ted Carrick. Pat Brisson, the agent for Giroux, has publicly said there are no concerns that he had suffered a concussion.