WASHINGTON - Not wanting to succumb to the dreaded "C" word, Claude Giroux decided to lace his skates up for a quick spin around the ice by himself yesterday morning.
His skate lasted only 15 minutes, telling Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren all he needed to know.
"He didn't feel that good," Holmgren said. "He didn't feel like himself."
For the first time since Giroux was rocked by an accidental knee to the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds on Saturday night, the Flyers officially labeled the NHL's leading scorer as concussed. Giroux failed a baseline concussion test on Monday. There is no timetable for his return.
"Over the last few days, the symptoms have gotten gradually worse," Holmgren said. "Obviously, we're concerned. Claude is one of our better players. We're just going to err on the side of caution."
Holmgren said Giroux, who remained in Philadelphia as the Flyers traveled to Montreal late last night, will take a complete day off today before being evaluated again.
Even though the Flyers now have three key cogs in their lineup - Chris Pronger, Brayden Schenn and Giroux - out indefinitely with concussions, Holmgren did say there is a positive to Giroux' situation. For now, it's actually twofold.
One: Giroux felt better once his physical exertion slowed. Two: Giroux will not accompany Pronger to Pittsburgh today to be examined by concussion specialists, a sign that his situation might not be as serious.
"If there's any good news in this, it's that once he stopped skating, he did start to feel a little bit better," Holmgren said. "We're just going to stick with our doctors for now."
On Monday, Holmgren told a reporter in Chicago that their concern surrounding Giroux regarded a whiplash effect from Simmonds' knee. Curiously, the website CrossingBroad.com reported (with one photo, submitted by a reader) that Giroux got into a minor fender-bender in his black Chevrolet Camaro outside the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday morning before the game when he rear-ended the car in front of him.
"That wasn't related to this at all," Holmgren said, confirming the accident. "Other than that, he had a bad day."
News of Giroux' concussion comes only a day after the Penguins announced that Sidney Crosby, who missed 68 straight games between Jan. 5 and Nov. 21, will be out indefinitely again after running into teammate Chris Kunitz on Dec. 5. Crosby has helped spur hyper-awareness about concussions throughout NHL locker rooms.
"It's raised the awareness," Holmgren said. "Sidney is probably the best player in the league. The protocol that we use to treat players has changed drastically over the years. That's a good thing. We're looking after the players."
No matter the treatment, the trouble with concussions is that you just never know. This is the first reported concussion of Giroux' career. For now, the Flyers will take it slow.
"He's a stubborn guy," Holmgren said. "He wants to get back in the lineup. We might just have to pull back the reins a little bit. So much depends on how the player feels. There's times that he feels good and there's other times that he doesn't. We'll just kind of play it by ear."
A serving of Sestito
Phantoms tough guy Tom Sestito was recalled yesterday to begin serving his two-game regular season suspension that was handed down by NHL dean of discipline Brendan Shanahan back in September. Sestito boarded the Rangers' Andre Deveaux in a Sept. 26 preseason game and was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and two additional regular-season games.
Sestito, who will accompany the team in Montreal, is not expected to play. Once Sestito finishes his time, he will likely be loaned back to Adirondack in exchange for another forward - such as Eric Wellwood or Ben Holmstrom - who would serve as insurance for the Flyers' road-heavy December schedule.
After Saturday's matinee with the Bruins, the Flyers do not play another game inside the Wells Fargo Center until Jan. 5.
'24/7' debuts tonight
Around 10 o'clock tonight in Montreal, nearly every eyeball associated with the Flyers will be glued to HBO for the premiere of the "24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic." The behind-the-scenes, hourlong show is the first of four episodes that will air on consecutive Wednesdays. You may want to bring ear plugs, though, for any kids who haven't yet gone to bed.