Claude Giroux on Flyers’ winning streak, evolving as captain (Puck Daddy Q&A)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates after scoring a second period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 08: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates after scoring a second period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Claude Giroux hasn’t collected hockey cards since he was a kid, but a new endorsement deal with Topps might get him back in the game again. And the one player whose card he’d pursue is the guy he got a good look at this week.

“Connor McDavid’s pretty impressive,” Giroux told Yahoo Sports on Friday. “Last year we played him once and he got hurt, so we didn’t really have a chance to see him. But just being able to see him play, he’s a dynamic player, explosive. He does a lot of things a lot of players can’t do.”

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The Philadelphia Flyers captain is the face of Topps NHL Skate 2017, an officially licensed digital trading card game that also features Topps FOCUS, a set that includes video highlight cards. Sorry, no stale sticks of bubble gum to be found here.

When he did collect as a kid, you could find plenty of Doug Gilmour cards in Giroux’s collection. As for his own hockey cards since entering the NHL, those can all be found at his mom’s house, but not on display.

“They’re stuck in the basement,” he said. “She’s got the whole collection and if there’s a new one my mom has it.”

We spoke with Giroux this week about the Flyers’ current seven-game winning streak, playing for Dave Hakstol and how he’s changed since becoming a captain.

Enjoy.

Q. Did you slip on that first goal versus the Oilers or did your momentum make you airborne?

GIROUX: “The puck was little forward so I had to get my hands in front of the puck, so I kind of let my body do the work. I don’t know, it just happened. Obviously with two goals right before my goal, the building was pretty rocking, so that was a pretty good rush.”

What’s been the common thread throughout this winning streak? What’s working now that maybe wasn’t clicking before?

“I think every game we have players stepping up and playing as a team. Obviously our goaltending, Steve [Mason] has been playing over his head right now, playing some really good hockey. I think it’s just being a team effort. When teams get on a streak like that I think it’s because the whole team is clicking, and our confidence is high right now so we’ve got to keep it going.”

Talking to guys who played for Dave Hakstol at North Dakota you get very similar responses. He can be an intense guy and you do not want to get that death stare. What it’s been like for you playing for him now that he’s been in Philly for just over a year?

“He’s an honest guy. He’s going to say what he thinks. Maybe you won’t like it but it’s going to make you a better player and a better person. Like you said, he’s really intense. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Topps
Topps

We’re almost four years since you were named captain. Do you feel you’re a different player now, leadership-wise? Did you feel you needed to do some growing up at the time?

“Yeah. I think your first few years you kind of learn and you [make] mistakes and you just become a better captain with it. You can’t overthink it. You’ve just got to go out there and lead by example. That’s the main focus. That’s one of the reasons why guys get the ‘C’; it’s because you lead by example and you just let your work do the talking.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!