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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Farewell, Captain Callahan … Jason Korolenko’s Relentless - The Book of Sepultura … vote for Timothy Woodward …

Amici:


The guy above, Ryan Callahan, is one of the main reasons I became a hockey fan … it’s why I was able to abandon a sport and league I feel has sold its soul to ESPN highlights. When NFL players couldn’t stop themselves from pounding their chest 8 seconds into the first quarter of a game (because they made a tackle … or returned a kick an extra 10 yards … or maybe even broke a tackle—wow), I was fed up. Pointing to the backs of their jerseys to let us know it was them, not their team, is everything I can’t stand about professional sports. Baseball players pound their chests when they homer, or double, or strike someone out. Basketball players have been thumping themselves for years (why I don’t watch that silly excuse for a sport).

Fortunately, I found hockey at the right time, and because I attended my first hockey game when I was 10 years old or so (with the other altar boys from our school), and because it was a Rangers game at the OLD Madison Square Garden, I remained a Rangers fan. I’ve been to exactly one other hockey game since. I took my sons to an Islanders game once because it was more convenient than driving into the city at the time. Being from New York, I remained a Rangers fan, even after moving to New Jersey.

When I started watching hockey again, after a couple of friends (Sue Bennett and Dana and Corky King) prodded me in the hockey direction, it was mostly because the “me-me” attitude in football was making me sick. I’m a dinosaur, I guess. Jumping up and down after making a play you’re supposed to make, doesn’t excite me. It makes me change the channel.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sport that hasn’t been ruined by ESPN yet. What made it even sweeter was the home team (for me) had a player who was so selfless, so willing to throw his body in front of slap shots to block them, and so gracious about his fellow players (rather than point to the back of his jersey after scoring a goal), I fell in love with the sport and the player.

So did Annmarie Elizabeth fall in love with him ...

 
Ryan Callahan is the epitome of a strong work ethic. What he brings to the game is way more valuable than his goals and assist statistics. He was labeled a “heart and soul” player for the Rangers. He wanted a no-trade clause in his contract (because he’s loyal) … so what did the Rangers do? Well, by now you know (or figured it out).



 
Once again I’m a victim of a sports organization (corporation, let’s face it) neglecting me (as a fan). The Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning traded captains, disappointing (and neglecting) both fan bases (neither fan base wanted this trade). Both organizations sent their publicity machines out there to cut the players up, doing their best to make it the players’ fault. On paper, the Rangers are supposed to benefit the most from this trade. The problem, of course, is that the game isn’t played on paper. It’s played on ice. Ryan Callahan isn’t Martin St. Louis, not nearly as skilled, yet he brings at least as much to the table not only as a fan favorite, but as a true warrior, somebody who plays both offense and defense, a guy who takes pucks in the face, neck, arms and legs. Irony of ironies, his “style of play” worked against him in negotiations (where management had the balls to point to his style of play and claim they couldn’t count on him due to injuries). Well, count on this, Ranger management morons … Callahan is 28 … St. Louis is 38 … let us know how that works out for you down the road.

It reminds me of the story about the Skankies trying to cut Mickey Mantle’s salary the year after he won the Triple Crown … because he didn’t win it back-to-back years … only in America (the first hints of what Bernie Sanders labels hypercapitalism?)

Greed knows no bounds … and the fans can pout and live with it, or they can tell the organizations to go and shove it. I say boycott the Garden until Sather is gone. Or don’t. Me, I intend to root for whichever team Callahan winds up with. This year we know it’s the Lightning, but he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Rumors abound about him playing closer to his home town, Rochester, New York. That would make him a Buffalo Sabre … and since I’m already a Bills fan (and have to suffer through the fiasco of their team management year after year), Callahan on the Sabres would be a blessing. So, I’ll root for Callahan and his new team (Tampa Bay) in the meantime. As much as I like all the other Ranger players, I’ll root for them not to make the playoffs. I rooted for Toronto Wednesday night (and they won—so, yay!) … and I’ll be rooting for the Hurricanes on Friday night. The best case scenario for me (and Glen Sather), is the Rangers not making the playoffs at all this year.

On the other hand, the trade may well workout for the Rangers. St. Louis shouldn’t be blamed for opting out of Tampa Bay and heading to New York. He’s a great player (and a spoiled SOB), no doubt, but I have nothing against him. On the other hand, I seriously doubt you’ll ever see him diving in front of a power play slap shot (or any slap shot) and maybe take one in the neck. We already know Nash doesn’t do that.

So it goes … the rug has been pulled out from under the fans once again.



Go Callahan! You’re still our guy!

 


 
Timothy Woodward … another SNHU MFA graduate makes the grade … and has been nominated for the New Hampshire Literary Awards: Readers' Choice Award in the Young Adult category for his novel "If I Told You So"! Voting is happening online here:

 
 

Big Bully Band … There’s a show this Saturday, March 8th at Ritchie's Sports Bar in Edison. Show starts at 10:00 p.m. The lead singer will be retiring after this show because of hearing loss. You don't want to miss this one!!!

Check out the band here.

—Knucks

No, we’re not over this one …