Let’s get it back to hockey.
The Flyers made a bunch of moves this weekend. We’ve got Cam Atkinson and Rasmus Ristolainen coming to Philly. Jake Voracek and Robert Hagg are out. Nolan Patrick and Phil Myers, too, with Ryan Ellis joining the team. This all centered around draft weekend.
General Managers always speak after a big trade is completed, or after the draft is finished, and in Saturday’s presser with Chuck Fletcher, the topic of leadership came up, resulting in the GM confirming that Claude Giroux will remain Flyers captain.
Sam Carchidi went on Twitter to share that bit of info, and Giroux responded with snark:
Good scoop Sam, good scoop https://t.co/cxYaffsDv3
— Claude Giroux (@28CGiroux) July 25, 2021
Fans mostly piled on Carchidi here, because they generally… seem to dislike him? I’m not totally sure, since I’m not a Flyers guy, per se. But it does seem like the player/media hockey relationship in this town is a bit wonky. Voracek recently called Mike Sielski a “weasel” who writes “fucking shit.” And Kevin Hayes took a dig at Carchidi last March.
On the surface, it does seem dumb to consider Giroux’s captaincy. He’s worn the C for years now, and that doesn’t seem likely to change, right? Why would it?
But Carchidi came back at G with this response:
Hey @28CGiroux, your own GM is the one who said the leadership group needed to be changed during yesterday’s news conference. HE brought it up. Hence, someone naturally asked if u would remain the C. That’s the context. #Flyers https://t.co/Xoy3kc8gvY
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) July 25, 2021
Let me give you the full context on top of Sam’s context here, because it wasn’t even a question that Carchidi asked. The first query for Fletcher was about Cam Atkinson, and within his answer he said this:
“…how often have we talked about our slow starts over the past two, three years since I’ve been here and allegedly a lot longer than that? We need some juice. We need some energy. We need to change the mood in the room and the energy in the room. It’s nothing against the players that we had here before. It’s about trying to create a new group, a new leadership group, new chemistry. All these guys we have acquired besides being good hockey players bring a lot of those qualities, bring a lot of experience, bring a lot of professionalism to our roster.”
“It’s about trying to create a new group, a new leadership group,” Fletcher says. Doesn’t necessarily mean that Giroux can’t be part of it, but the GM is admitting here that they needed more in this department.
Later, it was pointed out that the new additions have leadership qualities, which led to Rob Parent from the Delco Times asking two questions that went like this:
Parent: How long did it take for you to really get a grasp on maybe that leadership group did need to change or maybe more energy needed to come in? Was the year before this past one sort of an interruption to that or were you thinking that all along?
Fletcher: No, I don’t think it was so much the leadership group had to change in the sense that the guys there were the wrong guys. I think we needed to add more people to it and get some different people in that hadn’t been here for a while. Niskanen did a lot of that. Kevin Hayes has brought some different dynamic to the team and obviously Justin Braun, Brian Elliott, and different guys over the years. I thought we were young in places last year. We let some veteran players go and lost some veteran players. We replaced them with kids. Frankly, I think it was too much to ask of certain players and of the group as a whole. It was less a reflection of the inability of the leadership group and more reflection on the fact that I didn’t provide enough leaders for the group. That’s what I mean that we needed to change that. We needed to bring in a different dynamic, bring in more voices, some different voices to complement what we have here.
Parent: Speaking of leaders, is Claude Giroux in the same spot with this club in your mind coming in to this? He’s heading into his last year of his contract. Is he in the same role this year, or maybe with the changes, does his role change a little bit?
Fletcher: No, he’s our captain.
That’s the full exchange right there. You can parse that however you want and try to read between the lines, but Fletcher is basically putting it on himself and saying that he didn’t construct the right group. They needed more leaders in general, not necessarily different leaders. Whether that’s an indirect shading of Giroux, you can decide for yourself, but when you go through the entirety of the press conference, the question was not unreasonable, nor was the Carchidi tweet.