After a frustrating first half of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers had a reason to celebrate their captain, Claude Giroux, as he was named the captain of the Metropolitan Division for the 2022 NHL All-Star Game. Giroux, who participated in his seventh NHL All-Star Game, replaced Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin as the captain of the team after he was placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocols before the break (from ‘NHL All-Star weekend: Claude Giroux, Gritty and hockey-themed blackjack among things to watch for in Vegas,’ Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/3/22).
“This year, it kind of feels like my first one, to be honest,” Giroux said. “Don’t know as many guys as the other All-Star Games. Kind of older than some of the players here, but that makes it a lot of fun. Coming here and being around all these young guys and being able to kind of just participate with them, it’s fun and makes you feel young again.”
For Giroux, the 2022 NHL All-Star Game experience was going to end up being unlike anything he has ever experienced in the past. For someone that already competed in seven all-star games throughout his career, this one was going to be the most memorable.
Giroux Created Memories for His Family
Giroux could not have asked for a better break from the grind of an NHL season as he got to spend All-Star weekend with his family. Ryanne Giroux, wife, and Gavin Giroux, son, took the trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to spend time as a family. Two-year-old Gavin stole the show this weekend as he tagged along with his father everywhere they went.
“It was a great weekend, especially spending it with my wife and my oldest, Gavin,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of cool stuff and just taking it all in and we’re going to stay for one more day, kind of just hanging out.”
Over the course of the weekend, the Giroux family went on all kinds of adventures including hanging out with Gritty and spending time in the locker room with the other NHL All-Stars. Countless videos and photos were being posted all weekend, including the ones above, that recapped the memories for the family. Having the ability to step away from the seriousness of the game to spend time with family meant just as much as participating in the game.
Winning the NHL All-Star MVP Award
Outside of spending time with his family, Giroux still had to compete in the skills competition and All-Star Game. In the skills competition, he participated in the fountain faceoff, which he did not win, but when looking at the bigger picture that did not matter.
When the time came for the All-Star game, he could not have put together a better performance on the ice. He led the Metropolitan Division to a 6-4 semifinal win over the Pacific Division, in which he had a goal and an assist. In the finals, the Metropolitan Division topped the Central Division by a final score of 5-3, in which he scored twice. For his efforts in both games, he was named Most Valuable Player of the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game final.
Giroux captured the attention of more than just the fans with the honor of MVP. His Metropolitan Division teammates, especially Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski were more than impressed with his leadership and skills on the ice.
“You could tell right from the beginning, even before the game, he mentioned to us, ‘We’re here, we might as well win it, and when a guy like him, he’s captain of the team here, he’s been captain of the Flyers for so long, when he’s saying that, he’s going hard, I think it kind of just drags everyone else into it,” Werenski said. “We all felt that from the beginning, and I think it just carried over throughout the games, and like I said, we found a way to win.”
The Metropolitan Division could not have asked for a better captain and experience during All-Star weekend. Not only did they win the whole weekend, but the players were also rewarded by splitting a $1 million prize. This is the third time the Metropolitan Division won the All-Star game since the format switched to a 3-on-3 tournament format.
Interaction with Metropolitan Division All-Stars
It’s not every day that players from the Metropolitan Division get along. Between the Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers, no one would think a team filled with those players would ever work out. From the beginning, the Metro knew they had something special and it was an absolute blast for everyone involved.
“On the bench, we had a blast today. Everybody was having a good time. Guys were yelling to play defense and win battles and block shots. We just had fun today,” Giroux said.
The team even joked that maybe they were taking things too seriously. Giroux commented on the seriousness of Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov in the faceoff dot as he did not lose all night. Kuznetsov is typically known as a more laid-back and funny guy, but this past weekend he was all business, something the Metropolitan Division captain did not mind.
“It was funny how guys just wanted to win. I’ve never seen Kuznetsov work so hard for face-offs before. Even when I play against him in the regular season,” he said. “It was kind of goofing around, but at the same time, we wanted to win. Might as well. We’re here, right?”
Giroux and the Metropolitan Division All-Stars could not have asked for a better weekend. They were able to spend time with some of the best players in the league, but most importantly take a short break from the grind of an NHL season. The second half of the season is going to be an absolute battle for Giroux as his contract expires at the end of the season, but it will be nice to look back at the memories created at the midway point of the season.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator and serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo in articles like this one.