Flyers captain Claude Giroux will compete in his seventh All-Star Game — tying Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Barber for the second-most in franchise history — and this one is extra meaningful to him because his wife, Ryanne, and their 2 1/2-year-old son, Gavin, will be in Las Vegas to watch him play.
“This year it’s a little more special,’’ he said the other day. “With having Gavin come with us, it should be some good memories.”
The game will be played Saturday at 3 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena
Giroux, 34, is the Flyers’ lone representative on the Metropolitan Division team. He leads the Flyers with 20 assists, and is second on the team in goals (15) and points (35). Giroux is third in the NHL in faceoff percentage (60.7%)
“He’s been our best player this year,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last week. “Nobody cares more about the Flyers than he does.”
Giroux is looking forward to the glitzy event, and with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin sidelined by COVID, he has has been named the Metro’s captain. Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour, a former Flyers star, will coach the Metro squad.
“You want to be able to compete with them, have fun,’’ Giroux said. “There’s a lot of good things that happen during the weekend. So you just have to enjoy it. Anytime you get to compete with the best in the league, it’s always great.”
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Giroux will also complete in what is called the NHL Fountain Faceoff.
The competition takes place on the iconic Bellagio Fountains Friday night. Players will travel by boat to the “rink” and are required to successfully shoot pucks into five targets in the least amount of time. Qualifying players move to the head-to-head final. Fountain spray and the breeze off The Strip will add to the challenge.
Besides Giroux, the participants will be Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau; Seattle’s Jordan Eberle; Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, an American 2018 Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey; Nashville’s Roman Josi; Montreal’s Nick Suzuki;, Columbus’ Zach Werenski; and Vegas’ Mark Stone.
This could be Giroux’s final All-Star appearance as a Flyer. If he waives his no-movement clause, as expected, he could be dealt to a contender.
Right now, he is more concerned with helping the Flyers dig out of a huge hole; they lost 13 straight before winning their last two games before the All Star break.
“It’s been a tough stretch for us,’’ Giroux said. “We’ve been having trouble getting wins. Getting those last two wins is huge for us.’’
The Flyers on Wednesday promoted two men on their hockey-operations staff.
Alyn McCauley went from a pro scout to director of player personnel, and Tom Minton went from director of hockey information and video — where he helped lead several projects with the team’s scouting and analytics department — to director of hockey operations.
Gritty is participating in the Mascot Showdown during All-Star weekend; some of the events: broomball, dodgeball, costume contest. … The Flyers (15-22-8) don’t play again until Wednesday against visiting Detroit.