by Mike Ulmer | TorontoMarlies.com
01/13/2007 12:07 PM
Daniel Girardi has it figured out.
He’ll need a dozen tickets, maybe more, for his debut at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto, January 28 and 29.
There are two reasons why.
Girardi is a local boy. He is from Welland, Ont., an hour-long jaunt from Ricoh Coliseum. His dad works at the General Motors plant in St. Catharines. His mom is a nurse in Welland. There are friends and relatives to consider.
“With all those people there,” he said, “I’ve got to do good.”
The other reason is this may be his only chance. Girardi, an American Hockey League rookie last season, undrafted junior, has emerged as a bona fide prospect for a job on the New York Rangers blue line.
The six-foot-two, right-handed shot has maximized his time with the Wolf Pack. In his rookie year, he carded a more than respectable 39 points and won a spot on the league’s All-Rookie team. This year, Girardi has recorded 21 points in half a season with the Wolf Pack and earned his first all-star invitatition where he will start on the blue line alongside Hershey defenseman Lawrence Nycholat.
“I’m like a lot of guys who worries about his end first,” Girardi said. “I want to get the puck up to the forwards. If you do that, the points will come.”
Girardi‘s path up the development ladder has been a winding one. He started playing at five years old, played Junior B at home and was drafted by the OHL’s Barrie Colts. But Girardi struggled in Barrie and played only six games in his first season.