Any one that saw highlights (or the full game) in Boston would have seen Dan Girardi play a brilliant game all-round. It’s not a shock anymore, however, as Girardi makes his way through a brilliant season individually. However, can a defensive defenseman really garner Norris Trophy consideration? Is Girardi a sexy enough brand name, are the points missing from the resume?
If All Star voting was any indication of Girardi’s league wide respect then it doesn’t bode well for the rock on the Rangers blue line but if the numbers get stripped down, the whole picture looked at and the realisation of just how essential Girardi has been to the Rangers is seen, then Girardi deserves real consideration.
Look beyond the 27+ minutes per game that Girardi gets. Look past the 30 point season that he is on course for (which compared to the usual Norris candidates is a paltry sum). Forget about Girardi being a league leader in both hits and blocked shots. However put it all together and you have a player that excels in almost everything he turns his hand to. Girardi is a good decision maker, is constantly up against the league’s best offensive stars (and usually wins) and yet he still manages to be a legitimate option offensively.
What perhaps goes unnoticed about Girardi is the unreal 8 penalty minutes he has been assessed this season. When you play a physical game like he does and play the minutes he does then 8 penalty minutes is an astounding figure. It is testament to Girardi’s positioning, the aforementioned decision making and technique that he is such a fair player. Lady Byng anyone?
When all is said and done the Norris trophy will be decided between the usual candidates like Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara and Nicklas Lidstrom but let’s hope Girardi gets a mention. A player like Girardi is rarely in the spotlight around the league, yet is one of the key reasons the Rangers are one of the best teams in the NHL this season despite injuries mounting and travel being a burden. Here’s hoping the underappreciated get some love.