So far Dan Girardi deserves to go to the All-Star game this season. But is it in his best interest? (Christopher Pasatieri/ Getty Images)

Dan Girardi On The Defensive


If only there were a shot-blocking competition... (Alan Maglaque-US PRESSWIRE)

If only there were a shot-blocking competition… (Alan Maglaque-US PRESSWIRE)

As the New York Rangers have righted their ship this season, at least defensively, attention has turned to players who may still be lagging. Conjecture abounds regarding Michael Del Zotto being shopped around, while Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman, and John Moore seem part of the core Untouchables, fighting the crimes of the opposition, on a consistent basis.

With Dan Girardi peering at free agency next season, rumblings have begun about his play and future with the team. Some perspectives explain that Girardi is having the most trouble adjusting to the new system, given that he is used to thinking defense first, going down regularly to block shots and passes. Compounding this is the idea that the opposition, knowing he is going to sacrifice his boots and legs, (anti-bootlegger?) wait for him to go down and then go around him. Others wonder if he has lost a half step at the ripe young age of 29.

What I see is unusually poor decision making from Girardi, particularly when it comes to the breakout pass. Too often while making the instant decision to move the puck, he either fails to get it out of the defensive zone, or his pass is intercepted outright. It almost seems as if he has stopped thinking out there. While such plays are best made instinctually, being smart has to be part of the equation.

That hockey is so much a mental game is often missed. Players must be confident, have a high hockey “IQ,” making smart decisions at every turn. Others on the team seem loaded with talent, Benoit Pouliot is a prime example. Yet, he falters by making ill conceived and ill timed decisions with the puck. The magical turnaround of Chris Kreider, a player brimming with talent, has analysts baffled. It is clear that getting  his mental game together has been the difference. He is confident, and consistently making the right choices, “playing the right way” as coach Vigneault likes to say.

Last season Brad Richards was questioned largely on physical terms. Now that he has gotten his mental sky in order, no one believes he, at 33, has lost a step. Girardi is in his prime. He will have to go back to thinking a bit more, having his decisions become more naturally correct as a result.  The Rangers need him, his physical presence, and effective passing. He’s on the defensive only in his head.

Tags: Nhl Puck Drop NY Rangers

  • zuccsaga36

    Girardis been one of our best shutdown d men all season you people expect a defensive defensmen to just out up giant numbers. You guys say he lost a step he’s never been fast at all. He relies on smarts and positioning and does it extremely well. Why don’t you ask the ovs and Crosbys how they like playing against girardi and staal another guy who I have seen you people bash. Girardi mcdonagh staal if we are winning the cup are going to be big factors.

    • Shawn Taggart

      No one on this blog has bashed Staal.. And if they have, well I’m wrong.

  • zuccsaga36

    Maybe you should write a article stating how the forwards give the defense no options. Looking for a breakout pass to guys who are at the red line. When they should be at the hash marks or guys at the blue line it’s a joke. Stop with girRdi poor decision making your just looking for players to pick on. Girardis one of the best shutdown d men in the game today stop. I bet you people also started the trade henrik garbage thinking talbots the answer I swear lol retards.

    • Shawn Taggart

      Girardi while showing flashes of his shut down self, has had games that hasn’t been spectacular. Like many of the players on this team this year. The reason Girardi gets put under the microscope, is because no one expected Girardi to make these mistakes have those off games, because of how consistent he’s been.

      And no, I can say for certain, this blog has not started the trade Henrik garbage, and no sane Ranger blog has. You can move along from that thought.

      • zuccsaga36

        Oh please you guys where all over hank. You look for top dollar players to point fingers at. You guys have also completely bashed zuccarello in the past. All you blogger do. You guys also talked up Mdz like he’s god. The kids terrible he’s never been good he’s the weakest link defensively and you guys write about girardi lol. There are no sane ranger bloggers 98% of you never played at any respectable level. Live and die by the stats sheet. Not buy on ice performance game to game. Pick giardi apart last I checked Mdz out of the lineup rangers barely gave up a goal Mdz in the lineup we give up. 5 while creating no offense and turning pucks over in the neutral zone. Which is where most games are won and lost. And I do realize girardi has had a very bad start but he’s not a player I worry about bouncing back he has a few bad games and oh he’s done trade him 29 done finished. I bet you guys supported the gaborik trade as well. Yea see what happens when you trade your best goal scorer away even with Nash you don’t score goals. Gaborik is a more productive less flash player but he’s more effective on the score sheet. I would trade delzotto and a few others to get gaborik back

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