October 7 Philadelphia Daily News:
“When asked about his offense, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette can barely control his excitement.
Sure, Laviolette is fired up about steady goal scorer Jeff Carter, the streaky scoring of Scott Hartnell and the addition of uber-talented winger Nikolay Zherdev and eager to see the continued success of Ville Leino.
But if you ask Laviolette, he is most interested in charting the development of young guns Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk beginning tonight in Pittsburgh, where the Flyers open their 43rd season.
“A lot of the pieces are the same as last year,” Laviolette said, “but we want to see if we can take that next step. I think what’s going to be interesting to watch is going to be the development of Giroux, the development of van Riemsdyk.”
Giroux, 22, will be the first to tell you he wasn’t pleased with the way last season turned out. After dazzling fans with five points in six playoff games in the 2009 playoffs, Giroux didn’t exactly live up to the lofty expectations in his first full NHL season, with 16 goals and 31 assists.
By posting 21 points in 23 playoff games, Giroux not only atoned for his mediocre regular season but also reminded himself of the consistency he needs for this season.
“Even the playoffs didn’t erase the taste of last season,” Giroux said. “I’m pretty excited about this season. I think last year really helped my game. Going through the playoffs, it was a great experience.
“It’s a long season, it’s 82 games. I learned that you’ve got to find a way to show up every game and find a way to work and help your team win every game. It’s a long season.”
Van Riemsdyk, 21, learned early last year that 82 games are a marathon, not a sprint – especially for someone who never had played more than 37 games in a season before jumping from the University of New Hampshire to the NHL.
Van Riemsdyk struggled with consistency last season. Six of his 15 goals and 13 of his 20 assists came in the first 2 months. He suffered through separate pointless streaks of 14, nine and seven games.”
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