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Rangers voice support for struggling Girardi

Jun 5, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello, Dan Girardi AP

The New York Rangers have come to the defense of their struggling teammate, Dan Girardi, after the veteran’s giveaway in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final led to an overtime loss versus the Los Angeles Kings.

“Stuff like that is going to happen in a hockey game,” said Rangers forward Carl Hagelin. “I think what we’ve been doing is coming back stronger in the game after when we lose. G is a big part of this team, a great leader. He plays a lot of heavy minutes for us. It’s unfortunate that happened. He’s going to bounce back next game.”

Forward Derek Stepan had a similar, supportive message.

“Dan is a huge part of our hockey club,” he said. “I know that he’s probably moved way past it and he’s getting himself ready to play the next game. We’ve all been there. … If there’s a professional that can move away from it, it is Dan.”

The problem for the Rangers is this: Girardi’s giveaway may have been unlucky, and something that could happen to anyone. But the 30-year-old’s struggles extend far past one play, as illustrated by his postseason possession numbers, which are among the worst on the club.

To be fair, as Hagelin noted, Girardi does play “heavy minutes,” often being deployed against the opponents’ best players, with a good number of defensive-zone starts.

Regardless, Girardi will be a player to watch Saturday in Game 2.

“I do know that Dan’s got great teammates,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “I’m sure that they’ve all talked to him. It was a bounce. It was a bounce that unfortunately didn’t work out. He couldn’t put the handle on it. Stuff like that happens. You got to turn the page and move on.”

  1. imleftcoast - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    I had a flashback to Harold Snepts getting slashed (no call) and the puck bouncing to Mike Bossy in OT of Game 1 of the ’82 Finals.

  2. terrier92 - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    It’s a game of mistakes. Geez let it go

    • imleftcoast - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      That’s rich coming from Boston. Bill Buckner had to suffer for 21 f’ing years.

    • stakex - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      When you make a terrible mistake during overtime of a SCF game that cost your team, people aren’t going to let it do over night. Hell…. if the Rangers go on to lose this series, don’t be surprised if Rangers fans don’t let it go for a long time.

  3. stakex - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Girardi makes a lot of very good defensive plays, but his ability to move the puck is highly suspect. Throughout the playoffs he has been a turnover machine, and while the Rangers have gotten away with it for the most part, its a significant problem that can lead to this. Coupled with the fact that he struggled to adapt to AV’s system for most of the season, and that massive extension he signed is looking more and more like a weight around the teams neck going forward.

    As for the turnover last night itself, it was bad… no two ways about it. I know the puck hopped his stick, and that he lost his edge. That doesn’t excuse the terrible decision to attempt a homerun pass from his knees like that with a Kings play right in the way. High school players would get benched for that pass. He could have eaten the puck, or played it behind the net, in order to buy time for help to arrive.

    That’s not to say there isn’t other blame on the play. McD was flying the zone leaving Girardi alone with three Kings forwards, Pouliot was doing the same, and Zucca was kind of drifting around aimlessly at the blue line. Still though, none of that changes the fact that Girardi turned what should be a simple play into a crushing defeat.

    • joey4id - Jun 5, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Not to disagree with you, but, I saw it a little differently after watching the play over and over again. As he was skating backwards he moved the back from his backhand to his forehand, and the puck rolled off the toe of his stick blade, fell, and then like you said, tried the homerun pass. In his defense, there was more than one basic hockey rule broken on this play.

      1) Pouliot misses the puck and player as the third man on the fore check (he was able to get back and knock the puck off Pearson’s stick)
      2) When one d man has the puck an there are opposing players near the puck the opposite d man has to drop to be at least parallel if not below the d man with the puck
      3) McDonagh and the rest of the Rangers turned up ice before making sure the puck would make it out of the zone.

      When players are fatigued they make easy plays look very difficult.

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