by Patrick Hoffman on 10/11/11 at 11:10 AM ET
When the New York Rangers’ found out that they would be without all-star defenseman Marc Staal for an unknown amount of time, many Rangers’ fans probably cringed.
These same fans may have thought that the team’s defensive corps was too young and that without Staal, may be not as much of a shutdown team. As it turns out, these fans may actually be surprised at this very moment.
One Blueshirts’ defenseman who has always stepped up and been the club’s most consistent player on the back end is Dan Girardi. Girardi proved this in his team’s two games in Sweden by logging over 61 minutes, blocking lots of shots, breaking up offensive chances and being a solid all-around defenseman.
In his 74 on-ice shifts this past weekend, it is easy to see that it might just be Girardi who is the club’s best defenseman. He is smart with the puck, is usually never out of position and is extremely poised playing in front of all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Girardi also has the ability to put up some points. Last season, he established a career high with 31 points and in his first four full seasons on Broadway, he has scored over 20 points in each campaign.
There is no doubt that the team and its fans miss a defenseman of Staal’s calibre. With that said, they should be in more than good hands with Girardi leading the team’s defensive corps into battle during the season and beyond.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.