One of the most memorable first-round series in NHL playoff history featured not only two of the league’s most bitter rivals but also two of the best players in the league. And we’re still hearing about it.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ penalty-filled (309 minutes all told) 4-2 series victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins was highlighted by a matchup of two 24-year-old superstars.
Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby exchanged hits, goals, and even knuckles during Game 3’s line brawl.
But although it was Giroux’s Flyers who won the 2012 clash of Pennsylvania, the victory did not come without its battle scars.
Giroux, a native of Hearst, Ont., revealed a pair of “nearly symmetrical scars” on his hands to the Timmons (Ont.) Press Thursday.
“Those are from Crosby,” he told the paper’s reporter, half smiling, but with some tension in his voice. “Every time we’d line up against each other for a face-off during our series, instead of going for the puck when it was dropped, he’d hack me across the wrists. I ended up playing the series against (New) Jersey with one of them fractured and had to go for surgery on both of them after we were out of the playoffs.”
Giroux underwent surgery on both wrists in May, after the Flyers were eliminated in Round 2 by the Devils. His right wrist needed to have some torn cartilage repaired, and his left needed to have bone spurs removed.
After Giroux laid a hard body-check on Crosby in Game 6 of the series and scored a goal in the first shift of the elimination game, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette referred to Giroux as “the best player in the world,” a not-so-thinly-veiled comparison to Pittsburgh’s franchise player.