NEW YORK – "This is the best time of year, man. I feel great out there." Dan Girardi said that as he sat in the dressing room Monday night, sipping an energy drink, looking like hell.
He had a scruffy playoff beard covering his gaunt cheeks. He had some old scars on the bridge of his nose, some freshly closed cuts above his left eyebrow and a brand-new bloody bruise on the side of his left eye. He had played 25 minutes and 11 seconds, more than any other skater in the game. He had blocked five shots, tied for the team high. He had thrown three hits and taken some hits, too.
But this is the Eastern Conference final, these are the New York Rangers and this is Dan Girardi. And if you're a hockey player – a hockey player's hockey player – you live for stuff like this: Girardi, a gritty defenseman who rarely scores, broke a scoreless tie early in the third period, then drew a penalty and assisted on the next goal as the Rangers earned a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in GameRead More »from Dan Girardi in full warrior mode for the Rangers in Game 1 win over the Devils