Philadelphia Flyers' forward Claude Giroux is reportedly negotiating to play in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League. I think that it's a good idea for him, or for any player, to make alternative plans because there's no end to the National Hockey League lockout in sight.
News of Giroux's potential KHL plan is just the latest in what is likely to be a long line of reports about NHL players adapting to reality.
Despite the fact that talks between the League and the Players' Association are set to resume today, the entire preseason was officially canceled earlier this week. Because the 2012-13 regular season is only a theoretical possibility, it's good that a number of players including Ilya Bryzgalov, Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot have made plans to keep their own 'seasons' going.
Specifically regarding Giroux, he's believed to be talking to the KHL's Avangard Omsk team, based upon the recommendation of his former teammate (and current Dallas Stars' player) Jaromir Jagr. While the quality of talent in any non-NHL League is certainly different, current circumstances offer players alternative environments to basically stay in shape until all labor issues have been resolved.
Exceptional 'ice vision' is a trait that many superb players share.
Flyers' fans and other hockey fans from around the world could easily see that this Ontario native possessed that trait in 2008-09. Building upon the 27 points he tallied that season, Giroux smartly increased his production in each subsequent campaign. He posted 47 points in 2009-10, 76 points in 2010-11 and 93 points last season.
Through 285 career regular season games, 'G' has 78 goals and 165 assists (243 points). In 50 career postseason games, he has accumulated 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points.
Skating with the elite
Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren made a multilevel decision when he decided to trade Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings and Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the same June day in 2011. Part of his intent was to enable Giroux to assume a larger role on the team.
Carter was dealt by the Blue Jackets to the Kings in February and raised the Stanley Cup with Richards in June. I was happy for those former Flyers because they had performed well in Philadelphia. But, I was also glad to see Giroux assume the responsibility he was given and skate with it.
Along with Jagr and Scott Hartnell, Giroux's line formed one of the best trios in the NHL last season. With good health, it's highly likely that he will remain among the elite in whatever League he plays in.
Hopefully, this exceptional 24-year-old and all of his hockey colleagues will be able to demonstrate their collective abilities here in North America at some point this season.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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