New York Rangers: Where Is the Code?

Tonight's Healthy ScratchesCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 07:  Daniel Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

"When it came to sticking up for my teammates, no matter who they were, the greater interest was always served," said former St. Louis Blues' enforcer Tony Twist in the book The Code .

"If everybody on the team does his job, then you will have success," said Twist. "I remember screaming at Brett Hull one time when he got in a fight. I said 'What the hell are you doing putting your hands up? That is my job. You do your job. You score goals and leave that to me!'"

Well, New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi's job might not normally be to drop the gloves and fight, but Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, his job requirement sure as hell switched.

Early in the second period, Flyers tough guy Daniel Carcillo tangled with Rangers superstar Marian Gaborik.

There are two people who should NEVER drop the gloves on the Rangers under any circumstances: Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist.

I don't care if either one of them initiates the fight, like Gaborik shockingly did. They do not even get the slightest opportunity to begin to throw punches.

Perhaps Dan Girardi was confused about what he should have done during the situation. Maybe he should have watched the Jan. 12 matchup between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Maybe Girardi should have a conversation with Caps winger Matt Bradley in the near future.

During that game, Lightning pest—and former Flyer, oddly enough—Steve Downie and Alex Ovechkin met up and took matching roughing penalties. Upon exiting the box, Downie and Ovechkin kept at it, which resulted in the two players dropping their gloves and squaring off.

Except unlike Gaborik, Ovechkin did not even come close to delivering nor receiving a punch because within a nano-second Bradley left the bench, flew over the boards, and intercepted Downie.

Sure, Bradley was dealt a two-minute instigator, five-minute major for fighting, 10-minute misconduct, and another 10-minute-game misconduct for leaving the bench.

Well worth it.

None of those penalty minutes compare to what could have happened if Ovechkin actually went through with the fight.

Girardi didn't have to go over the boards, no. All he had to do was skate about two feet, and he would have intercepted Carcillo.

I don't care what penalty would have ensued for Girardi or the Rangers, but Gaborik should not have been in that situation. Like Bradley, Girardi should have taken the punches and dealt with Carcillo.

Even if Girardi didn't want to fight Carcillo, whom Sean Avery eventually fought, all he had to do was tackle him. He was that close.

Tackle him to the ice, and the linesmen would have been there instantly. No punches thrown. No possible injury to the man who is responsible for over 20 percent of your goal scoring. At worst you get a game misconduct for third-man in and a two minute roughing penalty.

I'm sure head coach John Tortorella would take that trade every day of the week.

Last night, Dan Girardi did not honor The Code . It was a mistake that he, nor any other Ranger, better never make again.