May 29, 2010, 12:15 PM EST
With speed, skill and general skating ability coming to the forefront since the lockout imposed rule changes (or at least increased enforcement), the NHL has become a young man’s game again. Just look at all the best players right now; from Sidney Crosby to Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane, almost all of the league’s marquee stars haven’t hit their mid-20s yet.
So perhaps that takes some of the shock away from 22-year old Claude Giroux’s breakout playoff performance. He’s third on the Philadelphia Flyers during the playoffs with an impressive 17 points. But beyond his production, Giroux is receiving praise from his teammates for his big-game performances.
Giroux is even earning accolades from veterans such as Ian Laperriere, whose remarks evoke memories of people putting straws in people’s milkshakes.
“I wish I was drinking his water,” Laperriere, a gritty, energy-line forward, told NHL.com. “This kid is unreal. He’s shifty and he is such a player. The best thing about him is the bigger the game is the better he is and that is rare for a 22-year-old.
“He’s one of those kids, you think he did the greatest move one day and he does a better move on the next shift. The bigger the game is, the bigger his game is and that is good news for us.”
If that’s true, then expect Giroux to put up big numbers in the Stanley Cup finals.
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