PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sometimes, we don’t appreciate the most consistent things in our life.
When I was hired to work at SportsRadio 94WIP in June of 2012, just six weeks after graduating from Penn State University, I was so thankful. Thankful to my friends’ brother who referenced me, thankful to the program director who hired me, and thankful to my college professors who guided me.
But what about my parents? The ones who supported me my entire life, put up with my crap, and shaped my core beliefs and values. They were the ones whom really deserved the most praise and appreciation.
Shayne Gostisbehere is the number one attraction in Philadelphia sports right now and it’s not even close. The 22-year-old smooth skating potential Calder trophy winning defenseman is going to be a rock star in this town, there’s no doubt about that.
Dave Hakstol, 47, is putting together one of the more remarkable inaugural seasons as a major professional sports head coach in recent memory. If the Flyers reach the post-season, he indeed would deserve coach of the year consideration.
Over the past few games, goalie Steve Mason has stood up to the challenge after backup Michal Neuvirth suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee.
The Flyers keep winning (7-2-1 in their last 10 games) and subsequently, they continue to fly up the eastern conference standings into a playoff position. And Hakstol, Mason, and especially “Ghost” — the new, shiny things in our lives as Flyers fans — are being lauded the loudest.
But we’re forgetting about the guy who has been here the longest. The captain. The leader. The team’s best player and the rock of the franchise. We’re forgetting G.
On Thursday night, in the Flyers’ crucial 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche, Claude Giroux scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period. It was his third straight game with a goal, giving him 21 on the season to go along with 41 assists. His 62-points ties him for 17th on the NHL scoring sheet.
The thing about G, however, is how consistently dominating and underappreciated he has been. Unconscionably, at times throughout his career, his name has even been associated with the dreaded word “overrated.”
Over the last FIVE seasons, Giroux leads the entire NHL in scoring with 362 points. Let that sink in. Yep, he has more points than Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechki during the last half decade.
Furthermore, some things about G we must not forget:
- Missed just six games in the last seven years
- He’s not a goal-scorer, he’s a creator, who hasn’t played with a goal-scorer
- Jake Voracek has never scored more than 23 goals in a season
- Faceoff magician
- Dealt with coaching changes
- Takes heat and criticism when team struggles; never complains
- Beloved by his teammates
- Zero off-the-ice issues
- Lifelong Flyer (drafted 22nd overall in 2006)
My favorite thing about G is that he’s only 28 years old. He has done all this in just 566 NHL games. And finally — for the first time in his career — G is surrounded by young and ascending talent, a forward-thinking head coach, and a proven GM in Ron Hextall who is correctly attempting to build a Stanley Cup championship contending team.
The Flyers are on fire. We didn’t expect a playoff run, so by all means, we should enjoy it.
Hakstol, Hextall, Gostisbehere, and many others associated with the organization are out-performing our expectations by a mile. They deserve the recognition, certainly.
But let’s not forgot about the rock. Let’s not forget G.