Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers celebrates his...

Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the New Jersey Devils with teammates Marian Gaborik #10 and Ryan McDonagh #27. (March 19, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

                      Defenseman Dan Girardi has been nominated for the Masterton Trophy, which honors perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.         

                     Girardi, a gritty, unselfish player who was undrafted but has risen to All-Star status, was selected by the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association to be the Rangers nominee in a very close vote. Marc Staal and Ryan Callahan finished second and third.

               The 27-year-old Girardi, in his fifth season with the Rangers, is averaging 26:28 in ice time, fourth-highest in the league, and is in the top 10 in blocked shots.

                  Among the other nominees are Jaromir Jagr (Flyers),  Matt Cooke (Penguins), Max Pacioretty (Canadiens) and Daniel Alfredsson (Senators). Finalists are selected in April and the winner is named in June.

                  The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, named for the late North Stars player,  has been awarded since the 1967-68 season. Rangers Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Anders Hedberg and Adam Graves have won the award. Last year’s winner was Philadelphia’s Ian Laperriere

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