When someone is flying to Las Vegas with his wife and kid on a private jet for a weekend of fun and hockey, why bother even asking him if playing in a seventh NHL All-Star Game might be a little old hat.
No doubt Claude Giroux enjoyed a private chuckle when the question was posed anyway.
“I always enjoy it,’’ he said with a degree of respect just prior to take-off at Philadelphia International Airport on Wednesday. “Anytime you get to play with the best in the league it’s always great.’’
Giroux will be the Flyers’ representative on the Metropolitan Division roster when the game gets underway 3 p.m. Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
“This year it’s a little more special,’’ the Flyers captain said. “With having Gavin (son of Claude and wife Ryanne) come with us, it should be some good memories.’’
There’s a lot of speculation this could be Giroux’s last go-round as an All-Star from the Flyers. Because his contract ends this season and the Flyers are suffering through a difficult campaign, there have been lots of trade rumors.
But he can’t worry about that right now, at least not for this weekend. He’s on pace for about 30 goals so the hockey skills are still there. Getting to play with stars such as Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who’s playing in his eighth All-Star event, has to be a kick.
“You want to be able to compete with them, have fun,’’ Giroux said. “There’s a lot of good things that happen during the weekend. So you just have to enjoy it.’’
Giroux is scheduled to compete in the skills competition on Friday night but doesn’t know which events he will participate.
“I don’t know exactly,’’ he said. “I will have to study it a little bit more.’’
Finally, Giroux is heading to Vegas in a somewhat positive frame of mind. After a brutal 13-game winless streak, the Flyers have won two straight games coming into the break, plus they hope to start getting some of their injured players (such as Derick Brassard, Thomas Brown, Joel Farabee, Kevin Hayes and Wade Allison) back before the end of the month.
“It’s been a tough stretch for us,’’ Giroux said. “We’ve been having trouble getting wins. Getting those last two wins is huge for us.’’
>Boucher, Jones on Olympic coverage
Former Flyers players Brian Boucher and Keith Jones have been named to NBC’s hockey commentary team for coverage of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games.
Boucher, who was employed by NBC as analyst, now works for ESPN. Jones, also a former studio analyst for NBC, currently is employed as an “inside the glass’’ commentator for TNT.
Action gets underway on Wednesday night when women’s hockey action features Canada vs. Switzerland, starting at 11 p.m. ET. Team USA starts play on Thursday at 8 a.m. in a game against Finland.
The men’s tournament starts on Feb. 9. Team USA opens play on Feb. 10 with a game against China at 8 a.m. on USA Network.
Yardley native Brian O’Neill will be making his second Olympic appearance on the Team USA roster. He also competed for the Americans at Korea in 2018.