Flyers captain Claude Giroux likes the talent and the makeup of his team, likes how the players have one anothers’ backs, likes how the Flyers banded together after Oskar Lindblom’s stunning cancer diagnosis in December.
For all those reasons, and others, Giroux believes the Flyers have “our best chance” to make a Stanley Cup run since 2010, when they reached the Finals and lost to Chicago in a heartbreaking Game 6.
“We have a lot of depth. We have veterans. We have young players that do a lot for us. Our goaltending. We’re just good everywhere,” Giroux, a still-productive 32-year-old left winger, said at Training Camp 2.0 in Voorhees this week. “Confidence is a big part of it. If we can get that confidence early on during the round robin, I think that’s going to be huge for us.”
The round robin, a three-game seeding tournament in which Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, starts Aug. 2 against Boston. That will be followed by games against Washington and Tampa Bay.
Giroux, who has 65 points in 69 career playoff games, said things have run smoothly in training camp, which started July 13.
“I think we’re on pace to get in the rhythm of a real hockey game and a playoff hockey game,” Giroux said. “You need a lot of work. Usually you have 82 games to do that. Right now we’re just trying to speed up the process, get the feel of the puck and get the feel of our system. Hopefully by next week, when we play our first pre-tournament game, we’ll have the feel of the puck. It’s going to be challenging, for sure.”
The Flyers will play their lone exhibition game Tuesday, facing Pittsburgh in Toronto.
As for the round robin, the Flyers compiled a 5-3-1 regular-season record against their three opponents. That’s the best record of any of the four teams against one another.
“During the regular season, I think we were pretty consistent at the end and able to play our game,” said Giroux, mindful the Flyers won nine of their last 10 games before the coronavirus outbreak stopped the season March 12. “We would go into every game feeling we were going to win. We’re a confident group right now. We know what we’re capable of. I’m excited to get going.”
The one drawback, Giroux said, is being away from his 11-month-old son, Gavin, for what could be nearly three months, though families are allowed to join the players in the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final if the team gets that far.
“I was home for three months and got to know him as a person,” said Giroux, who had 21 goals and 53 points in 69 games this season. “Got a good connection and had a lot of fun together. We were together every day. Right now it’s tough, you want to be there to see him grow. I might miss his first birthday [Aug. 26]. It’s really not easy, but he has a chance to watch me play” on TV.
Giroux averaged more than a point-per-game during most of his playoff career. In his last two playoff series, however, he had a total of just one goal and four points over 12 games. … Sean Couturier’s wife, Laurence, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Ella. ... The Flyers will have their final on-ice session of their Voorhees training camp Saturday, then travel to Toronto on Sunday.