Thursday, September 15, 2011
Eric Godard brings toughness, eccentricity to Stars
By Mark Stepneski
FRISCO -- Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski knows Eric Godard well from when the two played together in Pittsburgh.
“He is probably the toughest guy I know,” said Goligoski. “He’s a pretty big guy, but he’s definitely not the biggest guy. He’s as tough as they come. He’s just got that characteristic about him. I don’t know what it is. But he’s a great guy … and kind of an eccentric guy too.”
Among those eccentricities - his car.
“I can’t wait to get it here. It’s on the way now. It’s a ’64 Galaxie,” said Godard. “My uncle has a couple and he drag races them. My cousin has two. It’s like my family always ends up with Galaxies. It runs great. It’s mint. The interior is perfect. The only thing that doesn’t work is the radio.”
And then there is his wardrobe.
“He’s got this all red velvet suit that he’ll wear to games from time to time,” said Goligoski.
Godard needed to provide some clarification on this one.
“No, the blue one is velvet,” Godard said. “The red is corduroy.”
The bottom line: Godard is a little different.
“He’s probably got a couple of screws loose,” said Goligoski. “He’s just kind of a funny guy like that.”
But there’s nothing funny about the role Godard will play for the Stars when they are on the ice. Dallas signed him to a two-year contract to add toughness, an elite toughness that the Stars haven't had in recent years. The 6-4, 214 pound right wing is considered one of the best fighters in the NHL.
“I think everybody knows what his role is, but I didn’t go out and sign him just to be a fighter. My goal in free agency was to add quality, first class people to our organization,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “I think Eric Godard fits into that category. Goligoski played with him in Pittsburgh and raved about him. I know a lot of people in the Pittsburgh organizatioin that indicated to us that we’re going to love this guy. There’s no question that he brings that toughness element.”
If you want to put numbers to Godard’s toughness you can turn to a place like hockeyfights.com. The site, which tracks fighting in hockey and who wins the bouts, listed Godard as having an impressive 21-10-5 record in his 36 fights over the last three seasons. The site’s message board, which has a running poll on the league’s top fighters, ranked him as the fifth best in the NHL last season.
Godard knows his role and is more than willing.
“It’s worked for me so far. I’ll keep it up,” he said. “I like to get out there and crash and bang.”
And it’s a role that the Stars say that will fit in well with the team’s overall objective of being tougher to play against this season. Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said a guy like Godard can help some of the Stars more abrasive, in your face players like Steve Ott, Vernon Fiddler, Adam Burish, Jake Dowell and Sheldon Souray.
“It’s a little easier for those guys to play that type of game when you have a guy like Godard around,” Gulutzan said. “We’re asking our defense in (Adam) Pardy, (Mark) Fistric, (Nicklas) Grossman and all of our D to play a hard, more physical game. It’s a lot easier to do that when you have a guy like him around.”
Goligoski added that Godard is a great guy to have around as a teammate as a well.
“I think he just loves the team aspect of everything and the role he gets put into it. With his characteristics it maybe makes him that much better of a teammate,” Goligoski said. “He loves when the team does well whether he’s contributing or if he is up in the press box watching the game. It doesn’t matter. He’s the ultimate team guy, for sure.”
And he’ll arrive for the job in his own style, driving his ’64 Galaxie and possibly wearing that red corduroy suit.
“It will make an appearance,” Godard said. “It’s a warm suit actually. It’s thick. Maybe Christmastime.”