Dan Girardi is an All-Star defenseman when he is playing at his best. But right now he looks lost on the ice and has been struggling just as much as the rest of his teammates.
Over the last few years for the New York Rangers there have been a few constants that you would always see day in and day out. One would be spectacular goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Another would be the effort that Ryan Callahan would give every game. The third would be Girardi shutting down the opposition’s best players. Even this season when Girardi played against Alexander Ovechkin he shut him down and looked like the All-Star he is, but in all of the other games he has not been playing as well as we are accustomed to seeing.
Girardi isn’t very big, but he plays like a big defenseman. That has been something lacking from his game so far this season. The Rangers are still trying to adjust to Alain Vigneault‘s man to man coverage style on defense, and Girardi is having an especially hard time adapting to this. Personally I think this is because Girardi isn’t that fast. Zone coverage works a lot better for teams who have slower, tougher defenseman. This is one of the reasons Girardi is struggling so much. In order for the Rangers to turn this thing around Girardi is going to have to be quicker on the puck.
Girardi has been the Rangers’ most consistent defenseman over the last five years. That is the main reason why I am confident he will begin to play better.