For each player who suited up in a Blueshirt this season we will take the good, we will take the bad and take them both and see what we have. And this time around we started with the high numbers and are up to #5, Dan Girardi.
#5's #s: 80 games, four goals, 27 assists, +7, 37 PIM (5 playoff games, no goals, no assists, -2, no PIM).
Take the good: Girardi was half of the top defensive pairing on the Rangers and thus saw the toughest competition and played a ton of minutes. Henrik Lundqvist would not have been able to put together the Vezina-caliber season that he did without Dan. Girardi was the regular season league leader in blocked shots with 236 - 24 more than second place Greg Zanon (who played two more games). He then added 26 more in the five playoff games against the Caps. He improved his points and plus/minus each of the last two seasons and appears to be heading into his prime. And he did all that while laying down more than a few hits - he collected 195, which ranked ninth in the NHL among defensemen. Girardi is no fighter but after the awful, awful Gaborik incident has learned to stand up for his teammates ...
Take the bad: Girardi is pointless and -7 in his last 18 playoff games. There were numerous times this season where he gave his opponent too much time and space and was burned. When Staal was out with injury Girardi was clearly out of sorts. Needs to realize that a stick check is no check at all when you are going one-on-one against the top talents in the NHL.
Take them both and then we have: Some players get contract extensions and get complacent. Dan Girardi is not one of those players. Girardi re-upped with the Rangers for four more seasons last July and kept up the hard work that earned that deal. He had surgery for a hernia after the season, which makes you wonder just how much pain he fought through and how long he dealt with it. When you see a guy dealing with that and still playing at a high level, you want to be your best, and Girardi definitely set a good example for McD and Sauer in their first playoffs. Interestingly, Girardi was the assistant captain in Guelph in '04-05 - showing his leadership ability. The captain? Ryan Callahan.