Whatever your opinion of him, Dan Girardi was an integral part of the New York Rangers‘ organization for the past 11 seasons. In the past 10 alone, Girardi missed only 32 games, with John Tortorella calling a certain part of his body “bigger than (Madison Square Garden) itself.
Girardi’s time will no doubt be long discussed. Surely, his efforts in New York, however must be recognized and he’ll get a nice ovation when he inevitably visits the Garden with his new team. Below, we tally Girardi’s best moments in Ranger blue….
5) Dan Gir-ARRRGH!-Di
In a 2016 showdown with the Dallas Stars, Girardi, as he was known for doing during his Ranger days, got his body in front of an opponent moving the puck. An attempted pass by Jamie Oleksiak never reached its target, as the puck instead wedged under Girardi visor, giving him an impromptu eyepatch and even doing the impossible: drawing a smile from the normally stoic referees of the NHL
4) Capital Punishment
Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals goes down as one of the most exciting games in the history of Madison Square Garden. After Brad Richards tied it in the final minute, Marc Staal scored in the opening minutes of overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 series lead in an eventual win over the Washington Capitals. Preceding Staal’s goal, however, was a crushing hit by Girardi on Washington’s Mike Green, forcing the veteran to get rid of the puck and allow the Rangers to retake possesion to eventually set up Staal’s heroics. It may seem inconsequential, but the Girardi hit kickstarted a series events to eventually begin the Garden party.
3) Isle Take Care Of It
In 2013, the Rangers’ monopoly on New York hockey was in slight jeopardy, as the New York Islanders were embarking on a bit of resurgence, attempting to end a five-year playoff drought. The Islanders entered an April showdown with the Rangers on an 8-1-1 tear, and rowdy Islander fans at Nassau Coliseum were ready to take over the New York spotlight. But in a battle of goaltenders, Girardi finally broke a scoreless deadlock in the penultimate minute of overtime, beating Evgeni Nabakov for a 1-0 Rangers win.
2) Gotta Start Somewhere
This October 2007 showdown with the Atlanta Thrashers was one to forget for the Rangers, falling 5-3 to the artists currently known as the Winnipeg Jets. However, it marked a big milestone for Girardi, who scored a power play goal late in the game, the first of his NHL career. Girardi would go on to score 10 goals during the 2007-08 season, a career high in his first full year in the NHL.
1) Royal Elimination
This year’s playoff series against the Ottawa Senators didn’t go the way the Rangers wanted, but that wasn’t the case in 2012, when the Rangers took their quarterfinal matchup against the Senators at MSG, with Girardi providing the vital goal. In a do-or-die Game 7, and the Rangers looking to avoid being victimized in an upset, Girardi, on a one-timer from Brandon Dubinsky, fired it past Craig Anderson to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Ottawa added a tally, but Giradi’s goal was enough to provide the margin, and the Rangers advanced. Girardi would end up scoring two other game winning goals in the 2012 playoffs, providing the winning score in both