Rangers' Dan Girardi Finally Earns Recognition with All-Star Game Selection

Rob Waters@NYRangersZoneCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2012

Dan Girardi was named to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game roster yesterday. It will be Girardi's first All-Star game.
Dan Girardi was named to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game roster yesterday. It will be Girardi's first All-Star game.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi was just selected for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, to be held in Ottawa on Jan. 29. 

Rangers fans have been supportive of Girardi's case for the upcoming All-Star game, even starting a write-in movement in hopes that he would be selected.

But Girardi didn't even crack the top 20 defensemen voted for the All-Star Game.

All seemed lost until the NHL announced the remainder of the All-Star roster yesterday.  This will be Girardi's first NHL All-Star Game appearance.

Before last night's game against the Ottawa Senators, Girardi was interviewed by MSG's Sam Rosen about the selection.

"To be honest with you, I never really would have thought I'd ever be an All-Star, to tell you the God's honest truth," Girardi said.  "I had some plans tentatively, but I didn't book anything. 

"I honestly didn't think I was going to get picked.  I knew there was some consideration, but I didn't want to book anything and lose my money.  I'm glad I didn't and it worked out good."

Girardi leads the NHL in ice time for defensemen with 27:18 per game.  He has 102 blocked shots (fourth in the NHL), 115 hits (16th), three goals, 12 assists and a plus-three rating in 40 games this season.

Despite these impressive numbers, Girardi was still shocked to learn he was named to the All-Star roster.

"I'm unbelievably honored," Girardi said.  "Maybe every All-Star Game, a couple guys like me will sneak in there and get a chance.  I lead the League in ice time.  It means a little bit, I guess. 

"It might not be the exact role for an All-Star Game, but I feel like I'm going to have a great time out there, that's for sure.  I might as well savor every moment of that.  It might be my last one.  I'll enjoy it with the family and have a good time."

Girardi is fourth in the league with 102 blocked shots.
Girardi is fourth in the league with 102 blocked shots.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Girardi will be joined by teammates Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, also named yesterday to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. 

Rangers head coach John Tortorella, also named to the All-Star Game for his outstanding coaching efforts, could be Girardi's coach for the game.

Tortorella, who was outspoken earlier this season about how Girardi unfortunately lacked a "pedigree" in the league, had high praise for Girardi's selection. 

Girardi was not drafted; he was signed as a free agent by the Rangers on July 1, 2006.

"He deserves it," Tortorella said.  "I'm not sure how he was named, but he certainly deserved it.  Something came out right." 

Tortorella joked that Girardi may not see much ice time if it were up to him, since he wants to preserve his strength for Rangers games.

"I probably won't play him," Tortorella said.