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NEW YORK – Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers played in Wednesday night’s loss at the New York Rangers. About 24 hours earlier, that seemed unlikely. Heck, about eight hours earlier, it seemed unlikely.
Here’s a look back at the odd journey the Flyers captain took from significant injury to starting lineup, made even odder by the media frenzy and social media inanity that surrounded it:
Nov. 17, 6:10 p.m. – The Flyers announce that Giroux will be “unable to attend tonight's Season Ticket Holder event. He is being evaluated by team doctors.” This does not sound good.
Nov. 17, 9 p.m. – Flyers GM Ron Hextall says that Giroux “was evaluated by team doctors tonight and he is fine.” Sighs of relief are breathed throughout Philly fandom.
Nov. 18, 11:18 a.m. - NJ.com writer Randy Miller hears from "someone" that Giroux has a lower-body injury.
Nov. 18, 11:41 a.m. - Coach Craig Berube jokes that Giroux had a "middle-body injury." We think.
Nov. 18, 4:33 p.m. – Flyers GM Ron Hextall says that Giroux suffered a “lower body injury” during practice on Nov. 17 and will miss the team’s game against the New York Rangers. “I believe it will be days, not weeks” for his recovery, he says. Again, this does not sound good.
Nov. 18, 7:39 p.m. – In anticipation of Giroux’s absence, Scott Laughton is recalled from the AHL.
Nov. 19, 3:18 p.m. – Howard Eskin of 610 WIP radio in Philadelphia reports that Giroux skated with the Flyers on Wednesday morning and “has a good chance of playing” vs. the Rangers. Which is weird, because his GM said 24 hours earlier that Giroux was out.
Nov. 19, 3:19 p.m. – Pretty much every Flyers beat writer tells Eskin he’s full of crap because Giroux didn’t skate that morning at MSG and isn’t even in New York.
Nov. 19, 4:09 p.m. – Eskin retracts that whole “he skated this morning” thing and clarifies his report, saying that Giroux will skate in warmups with the Flyers.
Nov. 19, 4:53 p.m. – Turns out Giroux is actually in New York! Hextall says he will take part in warmups.
Nov. 19, 5:17 p.m. – Reports circulate that Giroux has arrived at MSG. NJ.com writer Randy Miller says Giroux has arrived at the game wearing “a walking boot on his left foot,” offering definitive proof of this observation by publishing an original photo that features no walking boot in sight. But it does feature Giroux looking like a startled fawn.
Nov. 19, 6:02 p.m. – Coach Craig Berube says that Giroux called Hextall on Wednesday morning to tell him he felt fine, so the Flyers sent a limo to pick up Giroux and bring him to New York. No word if it was one of those limos with the disco lights inside, or if Giroux helped himself to the minbar.
Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m. – Claude Giroux takes part in warm-ups before the RIVALRY NIGHT game.
Nov. 19, 7:48 p.m. – The Flyers announce that Giroux is in the starting lineup.
So @nhlflyers claude giroux playing 2night after SOME beat writers, tweeters ripped me 4 my earlier report he would warm up and chance 2 ply
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 20, 2014
Nov. 19, 8:39 p.m. – Howard Eskin totally gloats, forgetting that he reported Giroux was physically somewhere he wasn’t this morning; but hey, he captured the spirit of the thing. (Or at least just misheard part of what Paul Holmgren was leaking to him.)
Nov. 19, 10:40 p.m. – The Flyers lose to the Rangers, 2-0. Giroux doesn’t appear to be hindered at all, playing a season-high 25:45 in the defeat.
Nov. 19, 11:10 p.m. – Giroux meets with the media in the Flyers locker room. He says he’s feeling fine. “The trainers did a good job of getting me ready for the game,” he said. “It was a long day. I didn’t know if I was going to play, but I was going to take warm-ups and see how I feel.”
Giroux said the injury happened in practice, and that playing in the game wasn’t necessarily his call to make alone. “We’re a team here. We did a good job of communicating.”
Nov. 19, 11:13 p.m. - Giroux denies he took a limo to the game. “Who was your source? Because you have a bad source,” said Giroux, unaware that the source was his coach. (It’s later indicated from a Philadelphia reporter that Giroux took the train to Penn Station that afternoon; but hey, why shouldn’t every single aspect of this story be a giant crap show?)