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Pens’ Orpik on Giroux: “He was the best player on the ice”

Apr 22, 2012, 4:07 PM EDT

Claude Giroux AP

Following a season-ending loss to the Flyers, Brooks Orpik wasted no time identifying the primary cause of Pittsburgh’s demise:

Claude Giroux.

“He was the best player on the ice,” the Pens defenseman said. “But I don’t think we were surprised by that.

“Maybe two years ago, we’d be surprised.”

Giroux was absolutely massive in Game 6 — he flattened Sidney Crosby early with a message-sending hit, scored the opening goal, assisted on Scott Hartnell‘s game winner and Erik Gustafsson‘s insurance marker. The 24-year-old finished with three points, five shots, almost 25 minutes of ice time and a ton of respect from his head coach.

“His game tonight was monstrous,” Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette said. “When your best player makes a statement like that … Claude Giroux led us to the second round.”

In a telling anecdote, Laviolette told reporters Giroux asked to start the game –“I don’t know who you plan on starting, but I want that first shift,” he said — then went out and flattened Crosby. It was a move that impressed Laviolette enough to shower Giroux with praise.

“He’s the best player in the world,” Laviolette said.

  1. atb4 - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Orpik’s right. Giroux was awesome this series.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      no doubt

  2. lasallehockey81 - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Next season will start with a C on his jersey.

    • tcclark - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      He’s the best player in the world, but I think Briere should be the captain if Pronger’s not back.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Then I’m not sure you’re watching the same game I am. He’s led the team all year.. Briere is a captain in the playoffs.. He took a few months off.

      • tcclark - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        Statistically he wasn’t there this year, but vocally, and off the ice, Briere is a phenomenal leader. Giroux led the team in points but Briere was more of a team leader. I love G, but the way Briere has taken in Giroux and Couturier the past couple of years, and the way he talked to Bryz and helped him get out of his slump this year, sounds more like a captain to me.

      • dsd3 - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

        Yuck. Disagree.

      • bouch19 - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        Negative. Giroux is a Captain in every sense of the word.

      • tcclark - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        I love Claude Giroux. He is a phenomenal player, but being the captain in Philadelphia is an extremely difficult job. Don’t get me wrong, he could handle it, but why should he even have to worry about it? Danny is a fantastic leader and would be happy to take the heat during a team slump. Why put that burden on G? Just let him play and continue to be awesome. Briere is great with the media and leads on and off the ice. You don’t have to give the C to the best player on the team.

      • griffnjnc - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        totally agree with tcclark

      • ml3939 - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        It is Giroux’s team. He is clearly the leader on and off the ice at this point. Briere is obviously excellent with taking young players under his wing but I do not see him finishing his contract out here. As good as he is in the playoffs, I believe he will be traded by the end of next summer at the latest. After next season, his salary drops to 3M then 2M the following season. He will be very attractive to teams trying to get to the salary cap floor with his annual hit. There is too much young talent to retain to keep him around as well.

      • tcclark - Apr 24, 2012 at 8:55 AM

        Then give it to Danny and give Claude an extra year or two to grow. Why rush him into it? He gains nothing by becoming the Captain next year, but has a lot to lose. It’s not like giving him the C is going to make him play any better. It’s not going to make the team any better. The only thing it will do is put more pressure on him and surround him with a lot of distractions. He doesn’t need Philly Sports writers attacking him on a daily basis. As mature as he is, the smashing the stick incident would’ve been so much bigger with a C on his chest.

  3. heyzeus143 - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    until he gets a concussion, right?

    • dsd3 - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:28 PM


  4. jason9696 - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    “He’s the best player in the world,” LOL Thanks for the laugh.

    • villi5ed - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      No? Well it ain’t Sid no mo’, that much is clear.

      • rawgator06 - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

        Crosby just came back from barely playing for 2 years. Give him some time and he will be the best player again.

    • jblah - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      although it is arguable..but what do you expect a coach to say? oh he is just okay? seriously. i’m going to get flamed for this but giroux remind me of forestburg.

      • vismund11 - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        NO You will not get flamed. I’ve been saying that he’s the next Forsberg for three years. Nice to hear someone else recognize.

      • kitshky - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM

        Why in the world would you get flamed for a comparison to Forsberg!? Gaah I miss Forsberg…

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Where is a Jim O’Brien article when ya need one ha?

  6. vasteelerfan - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    one series does not make him better than sid. That being said he was great and so wete the flyers. congrats to ya. win with class and lose the same

    • rawgator06 - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      Come back to me when Giroux has been to 2 stanley cup finals, has his name on the cup, and scores the game-winning goal for Gold in the Olympics. Better than Sid? In this series, by far. Let him accomplish more before calling him the greatest

      • bouch19 - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM

        Come back to ME when Giroux has missed 100 games over 2 seasons, acts like a spoiled brat by knocking guys’ gloves away while they’re trying to pick them up, starts 3 fights with chippy plays in one game that his teammates have to finish (causing things to escalate to the point where 3 of his own players are suspended for a playoff game), then impersonates a 4-year-old who just got his bike stolen by the neighborhood bully by answering every question from reporters with a whiney “I don’t like them.”

        I know the truth hurts, but the truth is the entire hockey world has officially soured on Crosby’s act and now sees the Penguins as the dirty thugs they always have been. But hey, you losers still have five months of Pirates baseball to look forward to!

      • paulsdamnblog - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        Wow, nice Pirates bomb bouch19! Couldn’t agree with you more though.

  7. riotact13 - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Yeah I agree. Tell that to Bylsma and Crosby. Disappointing for “professionals”

  8. bleed4philly - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Giroux MVP

  9. phillyfanmatt - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I agree what was the expected comment to be from his coach. In this series compared to the rather big stars that the Pens have in Malkin and Sid who had a better series then Giroux? If I never watched a hockey series ever and this was the first one I ever watched I would think that Giroux was the best player in the world compared to the others. Just sayin is all.

  10. schuckme - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    hey jason 9696 u been makin snarky comments all series but that everyone knows your a pens fan and just crying sour grapes.. yea you should be laughing your pens are finished thats all u got left hahaha but wait, i thought crosby n malkin were the best in the world.. nope guess not the TWO “best” players in the world on the SAME team couldnt get the job done.. so yes for the time being Claude Giroux is definitley the best in the world thanks for the laugh at you jason btw.. NA NA NA NA..NA NA NA NA.. HEYY HEYY HEYYY… GOOOODBYYYYEEE!!! CHEAA!

  11. snutchpro - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    second coming of foppa! simply awesome, has there ever been a better first shift for a Flyer?

  12. tcclark - Apr 22, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    If Sid’s got a soup can, Giroux’s got a paint can

  13. griffnjnc - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Giroux is obviously the better player, and seems like the better captain, but I think the C should go to Briere. We don’t want Giroux going Mike Richards on us. Plus Briere is the Dad of this team (gives the young players a place to stay, etc etc). January 7th, 2012 is a small example of why he should be captain. Flyers 3-2 over Ottawa in OT. Briere 3 goals and a fight. Briere is just in a more “captainly” point in his career. Giroux keeps an A at least for a few more years in my opinion.

  14. barkar942 - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Speaking of old Soupy and Pringle Man, not much blogging on this site now!
    Congrats to Philly! Well deserved!

  15. kitshky - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    You don’t want to give a kid a C just because he’s had a breakout year … and let’s hold off on the “best player in the world” title until he’s been more than one of the best players in what was one of the worst played series in modern history.

  16. mojosmagic - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Two things to say to Jason in Pittsville. No one likes you, and no one agrees with you. Have a nice long, hot summer ahole.

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