Dan Girardi not being on the All-Star ballot was an absolute joke by the National Hockey League. Especially when they instead put Marc Staal, who has yet to play a single shift this season, as a potential candidate. John Tortorella was one-hundred percent correct when he said that the NHL has it “ass-backwards.” If Dion Phaneuf was having the season that Girardi is he’d be plastered all over the NHL’s website and in every NBC hockey promotion, but because it’s undrafted free agent Dan Girardi, whose playing styling is far from pretty or overwhelming, he is skipped over. The NHL is more interested in what is best for ratings or marketing and not rewarding the players who deserve to be honored.
So yes, thus far into the season Dan Girardi has been one of the best defenseman in the NHL and deserves to play in the All-Star Game. But do we actually want him to take part in the festivities? James put up an article earlier about trying to vote Dan Girardi into the game as a write-in, and the movement has picked up some steam. And while I again want to stress that I think Girardi is more than deserving of such a fate, I am not convinced that sending him is the best idea.
In 2009 Pavel Datsyuk and Nick Lidstrom were both forced to sit out the first regular season game after the All-Star break because they failed to show up and take part in the festivities despite being voted in. Lidstrom specifically cited tendinitis issues for why he didn’t want to take part in the game. He wanted to use the break to rest up and control the issues that were flaring up and make sure he was doing everything possible to be in the best shape for the playoffs. If it was a regular season game then of course Lidstrom would have played, and his usual minutes at that. But why wouldn’t he prioritize keeping his body in the best condition possible over playing in an exhibition game that serves no purpose but to make the league money?
Which brings us to Dan Girardi. He’s being overworked as it is and would still log top minutes even if Staal was in the lineup. On top of that, he plays a style that basically guarantees that he gets a different part of his body bruised or banged up or sore every game. There is a six day break between games in late January in order to hold the All-Star festivities. Would Girardi not be better served relaxing at home and taking a rest at a point in the season where his body has surely taken a toll? Nick Lidstrom was in game-shape but still saw the value in letting his body rest for a short time. Yes, Lidstrom has been to numerous All-Star games so he had already experienced it, and I’m sure it would be a great experience for Girardi. I’m just not so sure that it’s in the best interest of the team going forward. We can only hope that we’ll need Girardi at his best into May, and perhaps June. Is flying Girardi to Ottawa and having him partake in all of the events that are truly targeted for kids and casual fans worth it? I don’t really think so.