Breakup Day came early for the Rangers this year. For some, that was just the first of the unpleasant surprises.
When AV decided to sit Dan Girardi for Game 3 of the team's first and only round of the playoffs, many rejoiced. Had he seen the light? Had he read Twitter? Had he actually watched the same Game 1 we watched? Whatever it was, AV was reconsidering his defense, giving minutes to fresh, underutilized rookie Dylan McIlrath (with Brady Skjei in for Ryan McDonagh), and that was all that mattered.
False alarm, it appears. AV hadn't reconsidered anything. Girardi sat because he was feeling the symptoms of a concussion he received "late in the season." That's bad news both for Girardi, who we hope recovers fully soon, and for the team, since AV clearly planned to play his veterans until they crumbled to dust, young blood be damned.
But that wasn't all.
Dan Girardi had right knee problems all year, concussion near end.— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) April 26, 2016
There's no question that Girardi is a warrior who has given his best to the Blueshirts. So let's just ponder for a moment, shall we, the fact that, with young, healthy defense in the press box, AV played a guy who was not only showing the standard wear and tear of a long career, but had two specific injuries, one of which could lead to CTE. (And don't tell me Dan Girardi is unaware of the possibilities of CTE. He's the father of small children, and I'm guessing he wants to grow old with them.)
The Rangers should be ashamed of many things. Nothing is quite as reprehensible as letting a player play with a brain injury.— Dave Hollenberg (@hollenbeezy) April 26, 2016
No matter what happens in the offseason, we wish Girardi and his family the best.
Then Dan Boyle spoke. Or, rather, Dan Boyle announced the conditions under which he would speak.
Tense moment. Dan Boyle asks Brett Cyrgalis and Larry Brooks to leave the scrum. Says the rest of the press can stay.— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) April 26, 2016
Yes, it seems Grandpa had a bone to pick. Rangers Twitter went BOOM.
I'm not proud of this, but it happened.
Boyle's gumption made me just a little bit sorry about the news that followed.
#NYR Dan Boyle said his agent has informed him of interest from teams, likely to retire for family reasons.— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) April 26, 2016
While that's not definite, it looks like everyone agrees for their own reasons on what Boyle's next move should be. (UPDATE: Puck Daddy posted a full transcript of the altercation.)
Elsewhere on defense, Mark Staal claimed to be going into the offseason healthy for the first time in years, and Ryan McDonagh explained that his hand injury consisted of a broken pointer finger. He won't need surgery, which is good. However, there is this question floating around ... if we take a certain someone seriously. Lord knows Dan Boyle doesn't!
Derick Brassard is headed to Russia to play for Team Canada in the World Championships. He also mentioned being excited to play with "that Russian guy" next fall. (Let's assume he means Pavel Buchnevich, but at this point, who the hell knows.)
Viktor Stalberg told media that he liked being a Ranger, and "if there's a way to come back here, I would definitely be open to that." Eric Staal is apparently considering continuing to Ranger as well, although with numbers like these one has to wonder if the Rangers should return the favor.
Eric Staal was on the ice for 0 team goals & 10 goals against in 1st round vs. Pittsburgh. Marc Staal was on for 3 goals & 11 allowed. #NYR— Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen) April 26, 2016
To his credit, at least he knows it.
Eric Staal: "I don't think they saw the best that I can be. I'm not going to make excuses, I need to be better."— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 26, 2016
The last bit of interesting news to trickle out of breakup day was the following quote from star defenseman Keith Yandle who most are expecting to hit unrestricted free agency.
#NYR Keith Yandle: "The organization here is amazing. I could definitely see myself here."— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) April 26, 2016
No major moves are likely to happen until the season ends; you'll know as soon as we do. Thanks for sticking around, and don't forget the podcast tomorrow night!