Saying goodbye to a long time Ranger.
The day has finally come. After years of rumors and angry Twitter posts by everyone except for me (don’t check the receipts) Dan Girardi has finally been bought out of his contract. Dan Girardi is no longer a New York Ranger.
While I want to post a video to “Celebrate” by Kool & The Gang, I find myself instead calling Girardi a sweet prince. However much I know that Girardi no longer being a Ranger is going to be a major boost for the team, I sigh at the thought of his Rangers’ tenure ending with a buyout.
Many fans have expressed online that they do not know how to feel about Girardi’s exit. While the overwhelming sentiment is that it will help the team, in the end it’s tough to say goodbye to a long time player for your favorite organization. Let me try.
Dan Girardi: Warrior
Ignoring statistics and the eye-test (wonder why he was bought out? Having to start the sentence like that may explain it….) Girardi was the microcosm of what every fan loves to see. While many of us understand playing through injuries only worsens a player’s overall talent, we still sit in awe at players playing through the most minuscule of pains.
Dan Girardi played through everything. Often compared to a cyborg for his ability to get knocked down and get right back up, as long as Girardi was breathing he was playing. His dedication to staying on the ice for the team was unparalleled. If you’re ever going to use the term “warrior” to describe a hockey player, he’s the deserving recipient.
There’s something grand about seeing a player go through so much and keep on skating. Perhaps it’s because as fans we scream bloody murder every time we stub our toes, or it’s the idea that winning for us is more important than anything else. Regardless, playing through pain earned our respect and made him a “warrior” in many’s books. Should it have?
Dan Girardi: Liability
In the end, we want to see Stanley Cup victories more than we want to see individual players succeed. We want to see the best players on the ice instead of the most sentimental players. Dan Girardi was not only not one of the best in his later years, but he was one of the worst.
Girardi consistently buried the team, turning their best defenseman since Brian Leetch into a league-average blue-liner. He will go down as one of the worst moves in Glen Sather’s history, and the Rangers are going to pay him not to play for them.
The injuries quite likely could have caused his decrease in talent, which begs the question of whether or not we should praise players for playing while injured. However, every hockey player is going to try to play through every injury if they can. It’s in their DNA.
While we all love Dan Girardi, his on-ice performance was unacceptable, and hockey is a business.
Goodnight Sweet Prince:
Overall, Dan Girardi would have been foolish to turn down the mega offer he received from the Rangers. With that being said, his playing through injuries still didn’t make his contract one worth while. By the books, Girardi turned into a fan favorite to a failure for good reason.
Hockey fans often like to think themselves dedicated to the cup, bleeding their teams colors, dog eat dog mentality. However every once in a while a player comes around that never misses a game and wears a puck as a fake eye patch and suddenly we’re all puddles of sentimentality.
Dan Girardi was there for it all. For the series wins, the overtime classics, the hugs with Henrik Lundqvist after thrilling times. Dan Girardi was there for it all. Heartbreaking overtime losses, series debacles, looking away from Henrik Lundqvist in fear he would finally snap for good.
We’ve been passengers on this ride, and Dan Girardi was one of the drivers. It wasn’t the smoothest road, but in the end I’d go down the same path every time. Now we have arrived at Girardi’s stop and it’s time to say goodbye.