What's Wrong with Girardi?
With a new coach, a new offensive system, one of the league's best goaltenders between the pipes and one of the league's stingiest defenses, the Rangers were supposed to be one of the Eastern Conference's and league's better teams this season.
Unfortunately, at 16-8-2 and in 11th place in the East, things have not been rosy for the Blueshirts this season. One of the players that has struggled mightily for the team this season is defenseman Dan Girardi.
Prior to this season, it could be said that along with Ryan McDonagh, Girardi was the team's most consistent and best defensemen. He logged a lot of minutes, broke up a lot of plays, was smart with the puck in his own zone, was constantly in the right position and was a plus player.
Fast forward to now and Girardi does not seem to be the same player. Yes, the same thing can be said of many of his teammates but right now, it is clear that Girardi's play is well below where it should be.
For starters, it seems like Girardi has been caught out of position many times this season. On some plays, one will see that he is down on the ice in his own zone instead of covering the open man and more often than not, this has resulted in several goals against this season.
Secondly, Girardi has been on the ice for a lot of goals against this season. He is a -7 this season and if you do not know what that means, it means that he has been on the ice for more goals against than goals for, which is obviously not a good thing for a struggling Rangers' hockey club.
Girardi has also struggled to create offense this season. For the most part, Girardi was seen as a defenseman who could contribute at least 22 or so points a season.
This year, Girardi has just eight points (two goals and six assists) and while that is not terrible, it shows that he is having trouble getting involved in the team's offense this season. He is also struggling to shoot the puck this season as he only has 39 shots on goal.
Lastly, it is clear that Girardi is lacking confidence with the puck in his own zone. This could easly be seen last night when he gave up the puck in the second period to New York Islanders' franchise forward John Tavares, only to be bailed out by Henrik Lundqvist.
Again, Girardi is not the only Ranger that is struggling but when the team has allowed a lot of goals over the last several games, it is easy to put the spotlight on Girardi, who is having one of his worst seasons in his career.
For the Rangers to get back on track, Girardi must be one of the players to turn his game around. If he is not able to do so, things will continue to look bleak on Broadway.