How’s that for a buzz kill?
The morning after one of the biggest Rangers’ wins of the
season, the team has lost its heart and soul for the remainder of the year.
The glass half full folks will say that the Rangers have
overcome injuries all season, and even posted an 11-7-2 record without their alternate captain.
The glass half empty folks will say that aside from Henrik
Lundqvist, this is the one player the Rangers can’t afford to lose at this time
of year, and that at some point you have to wonder if maybe it just isn’t meant
to be this season.
The reality is that Callahan is one of the Rangers’ best
players, and losing him is a significant blow to the team’s playoff hopes. Based on everything we’ve seen this year,
it’s fair to assume that this team will fight on without Cally, and may still
have enough to make noise in the postseason. But there’s no doubt that losing Callahan is a devastating blow.
Kris Newbury has already been recalled from Hartford, and it wouldn’t be surprising if
Mats Zuccarello is back on Broadway shortly. However, the guy that is going to need to step up is Chris Drury. All indications are that Drury is getting
very close to making his return, and though he’s been awful this season, the
playoffs are where he made a name for himself. Drury will be entrusted with penalty killing and key face-offs for sure,
but he’s also going to have to produce some offense.
As for Cally, this year was a bit of a coming out party for
No. 24. His value has been well known to
Rangers’ fans, but Callahan was finally drawing national attention this season
as not just a hard worker, but as a bona fide star.
Callahan should be back and ready to go next year, but you
have to wonder if at some point he’s going to have to change his playing
style. Callahan’s reckless abandon is
the key characteristic that makes him the player he is, but he’s going to have
a very hard time staying healthy if he keeps this up.
It’s a gloomy day in Rangerland.