Dan Girardi Had A Final To Forget, Now He Must Rebound
After the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, then-young defenseman Dan Girardi was forced to sit around for a little bit because none of the 30 teams used their respective pick(s) on him. Shortly after, he signed a two-way deal with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate back then.
Following some play in the ECHL, and a call-up here and there, Girardi finally signed his first pro contract with the Rangers on February 16, 2008. They had no idea that he would turn into one of the best shut-down defensemen the league has ever laid eyes on.
That is why when his poor play arose in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, questions started to be asked as people wondered if he had lost his touch. He was a turnover machine against the LA Kings, giving the puck away a total of six times, one of which led to Justin Williams’ OT goal in game one. His overall performance was also pretty lackluster, as the rugged forwards of the Kings easily got by Girardi, leading to odd-man opportunities and good chances for LA.
So, some may wonder if it is worth it to keep him on the team. He looked like a pylon out there, and when you know that your performance played a part in the series loss, it takes a toll on you mentally, and could potentially set you up for failure in your next season.
A quick snapshot from ExtraSkater.com, shows Dan Girardi has ONE positive Corsi game and it was in a loss (Game 3)! Again, we must realize that players like Girardi are put out there in difficult situations against the opposition’s best. In the case of the Final, it was the Kings’ monster unit of Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown. To be fair, they made everyone look bad.
But, I have the belief that Girardi has the capability and the know-how to bounce back from a bad performance. He is as tough as they come, and I would be very shocked if he doesn’t have a great campaign in 2014-15. Sometimes, playing poor can make you mad and more determined, and that is what many fans are hoping for from the 30-year old defenseman.