How Claude Giroux Regained Superstar Form

Ray Giroux always wanted his son to have a Plan B in case his lifelong desire of playing hockey didn't pan out.

"You don't remove the dream from your kid," said Claude's father, Ray. "They need a backup plan. That's what I was trying to do with him, to bring him into work like starting at 15 years old."

Ray is a licensed electrician. It's a job like Claude's, that requires a certain precision with his hands. However, Ray always knew his son was wired a little differently. At the age of 2, Claude would wear his skates around the house.

"When I put him on the ice for the first time, usually you hold the kid or you give him a chair, but he just started to skate. It was incredible."

Growing up in Hearst, Ontario, located about 1,000 miles north of Ottawa,  the thermometer often reached minus-40 degrees. That didn't prevent Claude from lacing up his skates.

"Their feet would freeze," said Ray. "They would come in the house for awhile and then go back out. It was amazing."

20 years later, people are still amazed by what Claude can do. Wednesday night he made a series of incredible passes and finished with 3 assists, and the game's first star.

"He's amazing, the plays he makes," said Dale Weise, who compares Giroux to the Sedin twins. "He just slows the game down. "He creates offense out of nothing. There's very few players in the league that can do what he does. It's a treat to watch."

That high praise is a far cry from what was being said about Giroux coming into this season.  His numbers dipped for a third straight year and injuries appeared to be taking a toll.

"It got a little personal," Giroux said. "I try not to read too many things. Obviously, there weren't very many positive articles out there this summer. You take that as a motivation. You want to push yourself to be the best player you can be."

That line of thinking can be traced back to the advice Ray says he gave his son as a teenager: "Whatever you do, do it seriously I told him. Don't fool around at the gym... if you need some cash, I'll give you some money, but don't fool around."

With his 30th birthday next month, Giroux's mentality isn't much different.

"You got to keep working at it," he said following the Flyers' 4-3 win over the Red Wings Wednesday. "You got to keep taking care of your body."

Giroux is now on pace for a remarkable 94-point season. Speaking to Ray during the father-son trip in Pittsburgh, he said he knew his son could regain the form that made him a 4 -time All-Star, but he did have doubts about Claude's career as an electrician.

When I asked if Claude could wire my house for surround sound, Ray laughed and replied, "I don't know about that."

Hard to believe, but even Claude Giroux's hands have limitations to what they can do.

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