The Flyers were soaring. Now, like the rest of the NHL, they are waiting, hopeful the NHL season -- suspended March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak -- returns at some point.
“I hope everyone is doing their part,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said in a conference call Thursday that included fellow NHL players Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, and his brother Marc Staal. “We miss playing in front of you guys.”
Giroux is in Ottawa with his family during the NHL’s pause. He tries to stay in shape by riding an exercise bike and using what he called “old-school” workouts like pushups and sprints.
“I’m trying to stay busy, but it’s definitely tough when you don’t have the equipment for it," Giroux said.
Without rink and gym availability, the players are improvising.
“We don’t have a ton of resources, so you just try to make the best of what you have,” Crosby said. “But there’s nothing like skating."
By winning nine of their last 10 games before the season was suspended, the Flyers (41-21-7) had climbed to within one point of first place Washington in the Metropolitan Division and looked like they would make some noise in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We were playing some good hockey,” Giroux said, “and in a good position to go into the playoffs. You think about it every day -- when we’re going to come back and if we are going to come back, and what the possibilities are going to be. But you try not to overthink it and stay optimistic.”
If the season does resume, Crosby said, “you try to get in as many games as you can, but I wouldn’t mind starting with the playoffs.”
Giroux said it would be “good to have a few [regular-season] games” to give teams outside playoff spots a chance to climb in the standings.
It would also, of course, give the Flyers a chance to catch the Capitals.
Giroux said he and his teammates have had some group and FaceTime chats, but the last one “didn’t go very well" because “everybody started screaming” at the same time, "so you couldn’t hear anybody.”
Besides working out, spending time with his family, and watching lots of TV, Giroux passed some time after he bought an Xbox a couple of days ago and played two games of FIFA Soccer. He lost both to teammate Scott Laughton and put away his controller.
“My confidence is hurting right now,” he cracked.
Giroux said he doesn’t miss Crosby and Jordan Staal cheating on faceoffs.
“I was going to say the same about you,” Crosby responded.
Marc Staal said there’s something else about Giroux he doesn’t miss, either.
“Claude’s always chirping on the ice,” he said. “I don’t miss that.”
The players were asked if they were quarantined with one teammmate, which one would they select.
Giroux picked winger Michael Raffl.
“It’s never boring with him,” he said. “He’s always entertaining.”