It might be his sixth NHL All-Star Game but it never gets old for Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
Giroux will be headed to San Jose for the 2019 mid-season classic over the weekend of Jan. 25-26.
It will be the second straight time Giroux participates in the big game and fourth time in the last five years.
Giroux is currently the Flyers’ leading scorer with 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points on the season, which leads the team by 14 points.
Prior to Thursday night’s game against Carolina, Giroux had moved into fourth in franchise history in points (721) and second all-time in assists (494), leaving him six assists shy of becoming just the second player in franchise history to record 500 assists with the team.
He is also 14 games away from passing Brian Propp for third all-time in games played.
“Anytime you get a chance to represent your team at an all-star game, it’s a good experience,’’ Giroux told media at Thursday morning’s skate at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. “It’s always good to go back to California, too.’’
In addition to last year’s game in Tampa Bay, Giroux has represented the Flyers in 2016 (Nashville), 2015 (Columbus), 2012 (Ottawa) and 2011 (Carolina).
He becomes the first Flyer to make a sixth All-Star appearance since Eric Lindros (six times) was selected for the Eastern Conference squad in 2000. The Flyers’ franchise record belongs to Bob Clarke, who was named to 10 mid-season NHL All-Star teams and appeared in nine of those games.
Giroux’s selection is one of the few bright spots in what so far has been a dismal season for the Flyers.
They’ve already changed general managers, coaches and currently are in last place in the Metropolitan Division after a 1-3-1 holiday road trip.
That said, it doesn’t appear that Giroux ever thought of pulling an “Alex Ovechkin’’ (the Washington superstar who is skipping the game).
“Anytime you have a chance to go to an event that’s well put together by the NHL, it’s a good experience for my family and friends,’’ Giroux said. “You get a chance to play with other good players. I’ve been a few times and I’ve had fun every year.’’
Giroux hopes the Flyers can get things turned around in the second half of the season, which begins next week.
“Obviously it’s not the position we want to be in right now,’’ the 30-year-old Giroux said. “We’re not happy with the results we’ve been having. Some games we’ve been playing pretty good and not getting the results.
NHL All-Star Weekend will once again run under a divisional format. The 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Friday, Jan. 25 (9:00 p.m. EST on NBCSN) and the 2019 NHL All-Star Game will be on Saturday, Jan. 26 (8:00 p.m. EST on NBC). For a fourth consecutive year, the event will run in a 3-on-3 tournament format featuring four teams – one for each NHL division.
New this season, the 2019 NHL All-Star “Last Men In’’ presented by adidas will allow fans to select four players from a list of 31 All-Star caliber players – one from each NHL team (determined by the NHL’s hockey operations department).
The highest vote-getters by division then will be added to their respective All-Star rosters. Jake Voracek is the eligible candidate from the Flyers. Voting for the Last Men In opens today at 12 p.m. ET and closes next Thursday, Jan. 10, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Reversing the slump
The Flyers went 3-1-0 in their first four games under Gordon but the five-game road trip leaves them 4-4-1 on his watch heading into Thursday night’s game against Carolina.
What’s been the difference?
“Realistically, nobody wants to fail,’’ Gordon said. “I think in the first four games there was a little more consistency in everything we did.
“I think we’ve had spurts in the last four games, where we’ve been consistent. I think things have come up in situations – backchecking, how we got into our defensive zone coverage (that have to be improved).’’
One thing is certain: The Flyers have to get their offense untracked. Heading into the game against the Hurricanes, they had scored only two goals in the last nine periods.