Larry Brooks at the New York Post is reporting that defenseman Dan Girardi will severe as the Rangers second alternate captain on an interim basis until Marc Staal returns to action. The first sign of this was during pregame introductions for the home opener last night as Girardi was wearing the “A” on his sweater for the first time.
The choice of Girardi to hold Marc Staal’s “A” while he recovers from his concussion is a phenomenal one. Girardi has proven alongside Staal and now without him that he is capable of leading the Rangers’ defense corps. His play thus far this season has been above and beyond what anyone could have expected because of how heavily coach John Tortorella has leaned on him in all situations. He is playing an astounding 27:34 per game recording one goal, three assists and being a plus three.
More than being Staal’s normal defense partner and the most relied upon guy in his absence, Girardi is deserving of this for the way he plays the game. Always amongst the league leaders in shot blocking he sets the tone for the Rangers team in their own zone. When you watch Girardi throw his body around with reckless abandon for his own safety, get dinged up and do it all over again you cannot help but follow suit.
The negative side here is that it likely means Staal is not coming back anytime soon because the Rangers wouldn’t name an interim alternate captain if he was going to return in relatively short order.