Transcript: Dan Girardi on his role with the Lightning, “I think [Yzerman] has me in the top four”

Transcribed for accessibility: Dan Girardi talks about joining the Tampa Bay Lightning, leaving the New York Rangers, his health, and his future on the Bolts blue line.

Former New York Ranger Dan Girardi was recently inked to a two year, six million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The NHL Network interviewed him about his decision to join the Bolts. We have transcribed the interview for accessibility.

NHL Network: Dan Girardi of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dan joins us right now. He is a member of the Bolts. Dan, what do you think about this transition going from New York to Tampa?

Dan Girardi: Obviously it’s going to be a little different. Being in New York so long, for the last eleven years. But myself and my family are really excited for a new opportunity here in Tampa. Obviously the weather’s great, the fans are great there.

I always liked going to play in Tampa when we came with New York. So it’s going to be a different feel coming into this year’s training camp, but I’m really excited for the opportunity.

NHL Network: What did your former buddy and former captain Ryan Callahan who is in Tampa - what did he tell you about life with the Lightning?

Girardi: Well obviously he was selling me pretty hard. He was pushing it pretty good. But obviously I know they have a great team there. It’s a great bunch of guys. The staff’s great, pretty much down the line. I knew that kind of just from afar, but he really pushed it and that obviously helped in my decision.

NHL Network: Dan, I’m sure you had numerous opportunities. But being an older guy, a veteran, was it important for you to stay on the east coast? As far as travel - the travel’s usually pretty good in the tri-state area here. Was it important for you to try to stay on the east coast as well?

Girardi: Yeah, that was definitely part of it. Obviously moving down south, it can be a little more travel. Still in the Eastern Conference which is nice.

Like I said, I’m just so grateful for the opportunity that Stevie Y gave me. I’m going to use it as motivation to try to have a couple good years here with Tampa and see what I could do to help them win.

NHL Network: Dan, what will you miss most about either living in the New York area or the Rangers organization?

Girardi: Well obviously all the friends I’ve made along the way. We moved out to Westchester County a few years ago and made a lot of great friends there. Obviously our kids are in school and have a lot of friends. It’s going to be tough to lose that, but obviously this organization is top-notch.

So I thought it was going to be tough too, but I think it was a good time for me to move on now. They’re making some changes there in New York, but I’m happy to be a part of the Lightning now.

NHL Network: Dan, you get a chance to have a fresh start in Tampa Bay. I want to ask you how you’re doing physically, because you’ve been a warrior in your career. Boy, you have played through some real injuries. I saw you had the really tough ankle injury late in the season, you played through that in the playoffs. How are you physically now as you get ready to embark on this new opportunity?

Girardi: I feel 100%. I feel great. That’s kind of been the number one question in all the interviews so far, but I have to respect that. Obviously I have played hard over the last 11 years and it does take a toll on your body.

As of right now, I feel 100%. I feel great. I’ve been working out really hard with the guys down here in Niagara, I’m just - I think I feel like I’m really excited for this year more than ever now. I’m looking forward to getting another year started here.

NHL Network: Dan, before you signed, in the talks that you had with Tampa Bay - did you talk to Coach Cooper [about] possibly who you’d be playing with, maybe on the right side with Victor Hedman? Did that come into play at all?

Girardi: I talked to Steve Yzerman a lot during that week we were able to discuss with teams. He kind of gave me the feel of the team, kind of who he thinks I’d be playing with.

As of right now, I think he has me in the top four. But I don’t really want to talk too much about that because I’m not 100% sure on that stuff. [reporters laugh] And I’ve been around long enough to know what to say to the media. [reporters and Girardi laugh] I respect the question, but I have to wait and see when training camp comes.

NHL Network: That’s a veteran. Dan, really happy for you. Best of luck in Tampa.

Girardi: All right. Thank you very much guys.