-- Before this season, the undrafted Dan Girardi
was known, if it all, as a meat-and-potatoes type of defenseman -- steady, reliable, not all that flashy and someone you might not notice during the course of a game.
Defense - NYR
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 26
SOG: 105 | +/-: 13
That changed during training camp when Rangers No. 1 defenseman Marc Staal
was shut down with a concussion that wound up keeping him out for the first half of the season. The spotlight fell on Girardi to fill that void. Rangers coach John Tortorella bestowed the "A" Staal wore to Girardi, who had such a solid first half he was selected to his first All-Star Game.
On Wednesday, Girardi was honored once again, this time as the Rangers' nominee for the Bill Masterton
Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
"It means a lot," said Girardi, who narrowly edged Staal for the nomination. "I feel like I'm an ideal candidate for the Masterton Trophy. I'm pretty excited. I really didn't know too much about it. I looked up a little bit today. When I woke up from my nap, my agent texted me and said, 'You're nominated.' I was like, 'Oh, all right. I'll take it.' I knew what it was, but I took a little deeper look and it means a lot to be nominated.