Philadelphia Flyers, head to head stats of the best players in the world.
As a long time Philadelphia Flyers fan, it seems to me this debate 20 some odd years ago was between players from the two same teams. The participants then were Jagr and Lindros.
Ever since the debut of Sidney Crosby in the 2005/06 season with the rule changes (that have gone right out the window), the title of the best player in the world has been up for debate.
Now for some people this doesn’t seem to be a debate, but it is to people who really study the game.
In the 2012 playoffs, the Giroux lead Flyers destroyed the Penguins and Coach Laviolette named Giroux the best player in the world. ( which he threw at the media partly because he was sick of their daily reminders of Crosby’s status ). In 2006/07 and 2013/14 Crosby won the Hart trophy, the latter I didn’t agree with as Giroux that season, mired in a 15 game goalless drought and hounded by the media about the Flyers chances of making the playoffs, he responded with ” We will make the playoffs” and outscored the rest of the league in the next 67 games with 79 pts and the team made the playoffs.
How could anybody have been more valuable to their team was beyond me? Giroux’s first full season was not until 2008/09 season, and he never had the benefit of living and playing with a Hall of Famer or the total enforcement of the rule changes as they have progressively called fewer penalties since 2007/08 (Fact).
I don’t believe comparing the two this year is any fairer than judging Crosby in an injured year. It’s no coincidence that the Ghost and Giroux’s same timeline for 100% health, have just recently healed and their games have noticeably improved.
So how about some head to head stats when the both have been totally healthy. ( if Crosby wasn’t 100% then he shouldn’t have played)
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Since the years before 2011/12 when Giroux was still seeing 3rd line minutes and second pp time, we’ll ignore them. (Giroux had 5 goals 2010/11, 2 shorthanded and a game winner, Crosby had 2G and 4A, none of the importance.) They only played 3 games against one another 2011/12 and Crosby had a goal and 3A, Giroux 1G and 2A and the Flyers won 2 out of 3. In 2012/13, Giroux had 2G and 3A, Crosby had 1G and 3A in 4 games, but the Flyers lost 3 of the 4 games (2 by a goal, no OT pts).
The 2013/14 season is when the Flyers really took it to the Pens, winning 4 out of 5 while Giroux tallied a goal and 7A, Crosby had 2G and 2A. The domination continued into 2014/15 with the Flyers winning all 4 games,(Pens got 2 OT pts) and Giroux collecting another goal and 3A, Crosby a single goal.
This all came to an end last year as the Sullivan coached Pens beat the Flyers 3 out of 4 games and Crosby had the edge with 2G and 3A, while Giroux had a goal and 3A.
Thankfully the Flyers pushed back this year and split the series with Giroux collecting 2G and 3A, and Crosby fell further behind with 3 goals(2 were in 1 game where Giroux was knocked out for 7 or 8 minutes of valuable time from a late hit from Hornquist, Up to that point Giroux had held Crosby to 1 shot on net from far off).
When he returned he shut him back down and initiated the comeback, scoring to make it a 4-3 game and helping to tie it but losing in regulation.) So that’s 23 games and the tally is, the Flyers went 14-9-0, with Giroux out pointing the other best player in the world, 29 to 21. Now, of course, you will draw your own conclusions while coming up with viable reasons why Giroux outplays him on most occasions and draws so much hatred from Crosby, ( Because I don’t like them), that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with this article and I’ve come to my conclusion.
There’s every reason to keep this debate going, Claude Giroux has been a super star in this league and may hold his head high when it comes to his dominance of Crosby.
He is the Captain and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The reason I wrote this was to illustrate that the NHL should be promoting the deepest talent pool in sports, not 1 guy. The way the NHL has dealt with and have catered to Crosby has made this best player in the world far too subjective of a topic in this day and age, no matter how objective I try to be.
Of course, he’s great but Crosby’s only won the Art Ross twice, when Gretzky, Lemieux or Orr was the best, they won the title every year. (Orr had far more injuries than Sid as did his ex-roommate).
As a matter of fact as I was writing this story, I was watching Patrick Kane outshine “The Kid” and the Hawks pound the Pens at home. Now until McDavid can pick up his faceoff pct, and mature (leaving issues on the ice and fighting his own battles not talking about someone else not showing up), will end up the best most likely.
Until then, he only enters the conversation and the debate will continue a little longer….