Speculation time: Is Claude Giroux playing hurt?

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 05: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on after his team lost to the Boston Bruins in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wachovia Center on May 5, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins defeated the Flyers 4-1 to take a three games to one lead in the series. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Claude Giroux hasn't looked right lately. Maybe it's just a result of the entire offense going through a sluggish patch, but watching him lately, I'm convinced that it's something more. He just doesn't have that same flair to his game. He's not as flashy. Most games lately, he's been absolutely invisible, and that's about as un-Girouxvian as it gets.

I decided to look back at his game log, just to see if I was right. Has he really struggled lately, or is it just perception? As it turns out, it's not just perception. Giroux really is struggling. After a stretch of 16 points in 10 games, No. 28's only put up two points in his last eight. All numbers courtesy of Hockey Reference.

Date Opp
G A Pts +/- PIM EV PP SH S S% Shifts TOI
Oct 07 PIT W 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 100 24 19:54
Oct 09 STL L 0 0 0 -1 4 0 0 0 0
25 18:02
Oct 11 COL W 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 50 26 21:09
Oct 14 TBL L 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 26 19:17
Oct 16 PIT L 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0 1 0 26 20:12
Oct 21 ANA L 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 6 16.7 25 19:46
Oct 23 TOR W 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 1 0 27 20:28
Oct 25 CBJ L 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 24 18:15
five points in eight games to start the season
Oct 26 BUF W 1 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 50 26 18:26
Oct 29 PIT W 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 66.7 29 17:33
Oct 30 NYI W 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
23 19:11
Nov 01 CAR W 1 0 1 -1 0 0 1 0 4 25 26 18:48
Nov 04 NYR W 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
28 18:42
Nov 06 NYI W 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 23 17:10
Nov 07 WSH L 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 26 19:49
Nov 11 CAR W 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 23 14:51
Nov 13 FLA W 2 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 6 33.3 26 18:51
Nov 15 OTT W 1 2 3 3 0 0 1 0 3 33.3 25 16:25
stretch of 16 points in 10 games
Nov 16 MTL L 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 29 19:11
Nov 18 TBL L 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0 2 0 27 18:35
Nov 20 WSH W 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 33.3 33 23:03
Nov 22 MTL W 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 25 26 21:48
Nov 24 MIN W 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 24 17:45
Nov 26 CGY L 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 2 0 28 22:43
Nov 27 NJD L 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
27 18:01
Dec 01 BOS L 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 25 21:12
two points in last eight games

 

You'll also notice that those two goals he's had in this eight game stretch weren't really his doing. The Washington goal bounced in off his junk, and the Montreal goal was on a practically-empty net after a nice feed from Darroll Powe.

So what's wrong with Claude? This is just speculation of course, and he obviously hasn't said a word about it, but could he be nursing an injury? Just indulge me on this for a second.

Let's go back to that Montreal game, the Carey Price shutout where this all seemed to start for Claude. Setting the scene: the Flyers are killing off a Nikolay Zherdev penalty, Giroux is out on the PK, and here we are. Video:

P.K. Subban slams him into the net pretty hard there. Could he have hurt himself on the play? I don't know. He doesn't seem to show any signs of injury afterward or anything (actually, all he shows is a "what the hell, bro?"-type look to Subban), but just look at the numbers. He hasn't been the same hockey player since, and with a guy like Giroux, I can't help but think it's more than just a dry spell.

Some other folks, such as Dustin Leed and a few commenters below, have pointed out this hit as well, ironically dished out by Subban as well in the rematch between the Flyers and Canadiens. I must have totally missed this one, because it wasn't even in my memory bank. Thanks to them for the heads up.

Brutal. Definitely seems to have affected him there, but has it carried over? He hasn't had a point since.

It's nothing but speculation, but I think it's worth discussion. After all, glance at that chart one more time. As G goes, the Flyers go. Him being on top of his game is a vital part of this team, so, do you think Claude Giroux is playing injured?

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