The National Hockey League will be announcing the remaining participants for the 2012 All-Star weekend in Ottawa later today. There are two Rangers that most definitely will be on the list when it comes up, and those are goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and winger Marian Gaborik. Both players have had tremendous seasons at the midway point and are main reasons why their team leads the entire league with a 27-9-4 record right now. There are three definites if you include Carl Hagelin, who must be included on the rookie team, because he's had a stellar year since being recalled as well.
In addition to those three, there is also one "maybe", and that's defenseman Dan Girardi. Head coach John Tortorella has publicly stated that Girardi deserves to be an All-Star time and time again to the media. Torts was fed up with Dan being overlooked as a top blue-liner in the league, so the coach was doing his best to bring him some attention. It worked, because many All-Star projections I have seen as of late have Girardi on their rosters.
The two that stood out to me were NHL.com's projections, which had all four Rangers making it, and Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy, which had the same. Puck Daddy even went on to explain his pick of Girardi...
Girardi is the epitome of the merit-based choice for an All-Star Game. An unsung hero for the Rangers, one of the best teams in the NHL, and a guy who deserves the rub. Plus, maybe his toddler will enter the hardest shot competition.
It's true. Girardi may be blue-collar, but he's been the best Ranger defeseman all season, especially while Marc Staal was out of the lineup. Dan puts in ridiculous minutes for the Rangers each night, he blocks shots, he joins the offense, he's a solid hitter and he is a great locker room personality. He's done it all for the New York Rangers this season.
Also, with John Tortorella being one of the coaches, I think there may be some more pull from the NHL to get Girardi in there. I find that a coach's team normally gets a significant number of players asked to participate in the game, so that may be the case with Torts and Girardi here.
Either way, he deserves the honor and I really hope he gets it.