The best thing I saw today on Dan Girardi returning to MSG with son Landon

When the Lightning visit the Rangers at MSG tonight, it’ll mark the return of Dan Girardi. The recently retired former defenseman, who was such a big part of those classic Black and Blueshirts teams, will be honored before the game by the classy former organization he broke in with.

It’s hard to express how I feel about this emotional moment later. There’ll not be a dry eye in the arena or most households, who haven’t forgotten what Danny G meant to our team. He was the blood and guts of some very good teams that put their hard hats on. There was nothing number 5 wouldn’t do to help the Rangers win hockey games. Well, literally.

Selling out with the game over at the House of Horrors on a deadly PK Subban shot. Yikes.

Doing whatever it takes to keep Game One of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinal versus Boston tied up to force overtime and draw a classic reaction from Pierre McGuire. The late Dave Strader had the call. I sure miss him. Cancer sucks. 😧

Yes. Occasionally, he could do this. But it wasn’t what he was known for. That overtime winner at the Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders was pretty memorable. Great call too by Sam and Joe. Listen to that crowd.

Great tribute video by Zak of all that Girardi embodied for the Blueshirts. It included his first ever NHL goal along with some of the biggest hits and blocked shots. Plus a couple of sweet finishes by Martin Brodeur.

The game is airing on NBCSN at 7:30 PM later. Even though MSG Network won’t have the call, you gotta think they’ll show a few clips of the Dan Girardi tribute. They’re usually pretty good with that stuff. This morning during the skate, nine-year old son Landon got reacquainted with Henrik Lundqvist. It was a cute photo op and reunion.

These days, Girardi is enjoying retirement while having his own podcast with his last team, the Lightning. He may have finished his career there along with Ryan Callahan. But he’ll always be a New York Ranger.

No. 5 Dan Girardi

NYR 788 GP 46 goals 184 assists 230 points +54 275 penalty minutes

TBL 139 GP 10 goals 24 assists 34 points +24 39 penalty minutes

NHL 927 GP 56 goals 208 assists 264 points +78 314 PIM


NYR 122 GP 6-27-33 -1 36 PIM (20 GP 3-9-12 +6 3 GW in 2012)

TBL 21 GP 2-1-3 +1 6 PIM

Career 143 GP 8-28-36 Even Rating 42 PIM


Reg. Season 2046 hits and 1913 blocked shots (NYR 1762 hits/1650 blocks)

Playoffs 378 hits and 362 blocked shots (NYR 336 hits/326 blocks)

Career Total 2424 hits and 2275 blocks (NYR 2098 hits/1976 blocks)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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