The Flyers lone representative at Sunday's NHL All-Star Game is Claude Giroux. It's almost an afterthought that Giroux represents the Flyers at an All-Star Game.
As the Flyers captain, Giroux is the leader vocally and by example. He consistently is among the leaders in points on the team and has been seen at times this season drawing up the plays during timeouts.
But Giroux's skill set, quick and elusive hands, a strong and accurate shot, good skating ability, are what keep him on the radar of his All-Star colleagues.
"He’s got a real quick wit," Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said to CSN Philly on media day in Nashville. "He likes to get in guys’ heads so I’m just going to tell him, ‘Be yourself.’ He always gets people off their game. He’s very deceptive in what he can do with the puck and I think he’ll be great to have."
Trotz is coaching the Metropolitan Division team, which will open the All-Star festivities by facing the Atlantic Division at 5 p.m.
The captain of the Atlantic team is a former teammate of Giroux's, Jaromir Jagr. Jagr revitalized his NHL career when he returned from playing in Russia to join the Flyers for the 2011-12 season.
"It was very good when I came from Russia and played with somebody with the skill he has," Jagr said. "He’s got so much skill. Every year he should be in the top three in scoring."
Teams in the Western Conference have also taken notice of Giroux's abilities, particularly having to prepare for two games a season against the Flyers in recent years.
"He might have the quickest hands in tight of any centerman in this league," Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "He can look left, pass right. He can look at the point and make a pass into the hole. And he’s got some of the most dynamic moves when he come in on a breakaway, shootout, you name it. There’s a reason he’s here."
Giroux, meanwhile, is just honored to be a part of the NHL's gathering of superstar players.
"I think the first one is always the nicest," Giroux said. "You just go there and kind of learn from all the best players in the world. I think also the one in Ottawa. I’m kind of from there so it was pretty fun. My whole family was down there."
This year, the All-Star Game adopts a 3-on-3 format. The 3-on-3 play has done wonders for overtime, bringing more excitement to the five-minute extra session and cutting down on games ending in shootouts.
"I think it's going to be more entertaining," Giroux said. "There's more ice and I think fans want to see players play a little harder and try a little harder. 3-on-3, you can go a little harder and there's not going to be a lot of hits so maybe guys will play a little harder."
It helps that the Flyers have had some strong success in the 3-on-3. The Flyers have 12 games this season that ended during the 3-on-3 portion of overtime. They are 8-4 in those games The Flyers started the season by losing four of six games in the 3-on-3. They have won their last six.
"I think it took us a couple of games to learn how to play it. We're still learning every overtime. You kind of want to find a system that's good for you and good for your team. You want to be patient but at the same time you want to score that goal. It's all about the system, it's all about making sure you're in the right position and if you rush it too much that's when you get in trouble."
Giroux and the Metropolitan All-Stars look to advance to the championship round against the winner out of the West at 5 p.m. The championship round will be held at 7 p.m.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.