Sounds like Dan Girardi will be the “24/7” breakout star


HBO’s 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic debuts tomorrow night and based on early reviews from his teammates, New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi could be in line for an Emmy.

“I think he’s first star, for sure,” said Michael Del Zotto, Girardi’s dressing room neighbor. “I think ‘G’ gets the Broadway hat for HBO.”

[Note: The Broadway Hat is a black fedora the Rangers brought back from the NHL Premiere series in Europe, awarded to the standout performer after every victory. It’s kind of like the hard hat Washington awarded last season…only less red. And hard. That’s what she said.]

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist also picked Girardi to be a breakout star.

“If I had to pick one guy to follow, he’s it,” Lundqvist said. “I don’t know how many interesting things he does, but he says a lot of funny things.”

Girardi acknowledged he could be 24/7’s scene stealer.

“I like to do drive-by chirps and little comments here and there, just to keep guys honest,” Girardi told the New York Daily News. “I don’t know how much [fans] are going to see of that. I don’t know how much is clean and how much is dirty, so I don’t know how the hell that’s gonna go.

“But it’s just part of who I am. I get that from my dad – he’s the king of one-liners at home. I had to keep it going in the family.”

Add Girardi to the list of compelling characters. Aside from the obvious guys — Sean Avery, Chris Pronger, John Tortorella, Ilya Bryzgalov — you’ve also got stories that came out of nowhere, like Artem “Shooter” Anisimov and Brandon Prust, who’s suddenly one of the NHL’s most active fighters. (Which I’m sure has nothing to do with HBO cameras being present. Nothing at all…)

You’ve also got the rambunctious Philly youngsters (Zac Rinaldo, Wayne Simmonds), the emergence of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr’s stirring comeback season, the Marc Staal situation and the Brandon Dubinsky-Jody Shelley war of words.

In conclusion, I am looking forward to tomorrow night.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
Leave a comment

The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
1 Comment

News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier

Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford