It looks like Claude Giroux is going to spend a lot of time with Daniel Briere, making for a fast, dynamic, and small line. The interesting (and unsurprising) thing is, is that Briere doesn’t see size as an issue, pointing out that the Jordan Staal line had problems with Briere’s smaller line during the playoffs:
It got to the point where we had either Arron [Asham] or Powe on the other side of us, guys to much it up…They had their best games when they played against Richie or Carter’s lines. So size wasn’t the issue there, it was the matchup. When [Staal's line] played against a smaller line, they didn’t play as well.
Coming out of the lockout, a lot of GMs thought the days of size trumping everything were over. And speed is much more of a factor in the NHL game now. But size is still an important ingredient. Giroux and Briere were a tough match-up for a team that forechecks aggressively. But put them against a more passive defense, and they’re never going to get anywhere near the slot. Patience is to speed as Kryptonite is to Superman.
But reading Briere’s comments, I’m kind of curious if he somehow has the ear of a certain GM in Montreal. There’s nothing wrong with a team going small, but sadly, size still does matter in the NHL.
Despite all of that size talk, though, Giroux seems poised for a breakout season. He’ll be moved onto the powerplay and Flyers coach John Stevens seems quite ready to give Giroux as much ice time as he can spare. I know Flyer fans have been expecting great things from Giroux, so it’s nice to see him poised to step up.