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Ex-Flyers Captain Claude Giroux’s Lovefest with Fans in Return



Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

And in his 16th NHL season, Claude Giroux played his first game at the Wells Fargo Center as a visiting player.

It happened Saturday afternoon, where Giroux, who spent 15 years with the Philadelphia Flyers — including the last 10 as their captain — and the Ottawa Senators met Saturday afternoon.

An emotional Giroux received a long, heartfelt standing ovation from the fans, and the teary-eyed right winger raised his stick to salute them. Chants of Ruuuuuuuuuuuu reverberated around the building

The fans roared as an impressive video was shown on the scoreboard, celebrating Giroux’s years in Philly.

There was a baby-faced Giroux getting drafted by the Flyers in 2006, and shaking hands with then-GM Bobby Clarke, who briefly forgot his name when he was about the introduce him at the podium.

There was Giroux scoring big goal after big goal, including a winner in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.

There was Giroux taking down Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby before scoring a playoff goal to trigger an emotional Flyers win. This video clip of the Crosby hit drew the loudest reaction from the fans, many wearing No. 28 Giroux jerseys Saturday.

Lasting memory

“I’m going to remember this game for a long time,” Giroux said after collecting three assists in the Senators’ 4-1 win.

The standing ovation lasted about two minutes.

Giroux said he deeply appreciated the fans’ reaction, but “it was very awkward. … A standing ovation like that. I couldn’t wait for Lauren (Hart) to start singing.”

He said he “expected to get booed a little bit more. I’ve never done this before, coming back to a team you played for for a long time. Just coming in the building and seeing people that work here and faces I’ve known. Just great people.”

Giroux, 34, is second in Philadelphia Flyers history in games (1,000), points (900) and assists (609), behind Clarke in all three categories.

After he signed with Ottawa in July, Giroux admitted one of the first things he checked was when the Senators were playing in Philadelphia.

Giroux got a dress rehearsal when he faced the Flyers in Ottawa last week, scoring his 300th career goal in the Sens’ 2-1 loss.

In 14 games with the Senators, Giroux has 14 points (7-7).

“You don’t want to get (too) emotional. I wanted to play a good game,” Giroux said after the Senators ended a seven-game losing streak. “The position we’re in as a team, we needed this win. You try to stay focused as much as you can.”

He said the emotions were “similar” to the way he felt in his final game with the Flyers last season.

“I think that game last year helped me with this game this year, too,” he said.

Giroux said “this game helped” him move on. He loved playing in Philly. He feels the same about his hometown, Ottawa.

“I’m happy where I am. I love my teammates and the city,” he said. “I’m all-in there.”

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