By Séamus Smyth

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette raised some eyebrows this past week when he referred to Flyers centre Claude Giroux as the best player in the world.

But when you analyze Giroux’s 14 points and series-defining shift of game six , suddenly Laviolette’s pronounced point is a tough argument to counter.

Laviolette made the somewhat shocking claim to the bewildered media while explaining how Giroux requested a spot in the starting lineup prior to the opening of game six against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where the Flyers eliminated the Pens from the playoffs and Giroux recorded three points.

Although, The Flyers played arguably their best game of the season, it was Giroux’s miraculous performance that set the tempo immediately.

Giroux’s wish to start the game was granted and he went on to play the most dominant shift of the series. He hammered Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby to send the Philly crowd into a frenzy before scoring a perfectly-placed wrist shot all within the first two minutes of the game.

The scenario was straight out of the Mark Messier leadership  handbook. TSN analyst Bob Mckenzie said it best when he recommended that the Flyers seamstress immediately sew the “C” on Giroux’s jersey after potentially the best playoff series of the decade.

What makes Laviolette’s boatings about Giroux viable is that Giroux not only produced one of the best first-round performances in NHL history, but he completely outplayed Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Malkin, who will likely take home the Hart trophy for most valuable player this spring, looked like a fourth-line grinder compared to the skills displayed by Giroux.

Crosby looked rusty after yet another lengthy hiatus. Crosby’s secondary-rate performance proves that it is time for Sid the Kid to re-earn his position as the best in the game. Crosby hasn’t been the top dog in the game for the past two seasons because of his unfortunate head injuries and it appears his competition have finally caught up.

Who better than Claude Giroux, Crosby’s premier nemesis, to claim the throne as best player in the world until (or if) Crosby finds his “A” game again?

Laviolette’s statement was bold, ostentatious and perfectly accurate.