sports 2 months ago

Girardi looking to silence his critics in debut season with Lightning


A move to the Tampa Bay Lightning offers a fresh start for Dan Girardi.

The veteran blue-liner, whose contract was recently bought out by the New York Rangers, met with the Tampa Bay media Monday, and he wasn't shy in voicing his excitement over joining a club viewed as a perennial contender.

"I feel really welcomed here and that really meant a lot to me to be able to come to a place where they want me to come play, come help out," Girardi told reporters. "This is a great team here. A lot of success in the past ... This team has a lot of potential. A lot of great, young players."

Related: Girardi on Rangers' buyout: 'It hit me pretty hard'

Girardi, 33, appeared in 63 games with the Rangers last season, netting four goals and 11 assists. His play in his own zone has drawn the ire of hockey's analytics community, though Girardi chooses to brush off those criticisms.

"I'm going to do everything I can to help the team win," Girardi said. "That's the type of person I am. I really don't care what anyone else says around the rink. I know the GM, coaches, and players want me here. That's all that matters to me. I might have to win a few people over, but I'm just hoping to prove myself to everybody and just have a good time here."

Lightning fans will get their own look at Girardi soon enough, with Tampa Bay set to open the season Oct. 6 against the Florida Panthers.

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