It’s done, Ryan Callahan signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and we couldn’t be happier for him and his family. Callahan is the kid who turned me into a hockey fan. The label given him by New York fans while he was a Ranger will no doubt carry over to Tampa Bay. A “heart and soul” player who plays both ends of the game—offense and defense; a professional who gives 100%, 100% of the time.
Tampa Bay is a young team loaded with young talent, a perfect fit for a guy who leads by example. Tampa Bay made it to the playoffs last year, but suffered a sweep versus a team they’d handled during the regular season (the Montreal Canadians). Then again, Tampa Bay was playing without their Vezina nominated goalie, Ben Bishop. Their youth on defense showed in front of their second and third string goalies. Still, there’s a very talented bunch of kids on the ice for Tampa Bay. Some, no doubt, destined to be future stars. Several were nominated for NHL awards the other night in Las Vegas.
Callahan leads by example. He does his talking on the ice and will dive in front of pucks on defense for his teammates and his goalie(s). I’ve never seen a more selfless player in any sport. Derek Jeter comes to mind in baseball … Tim Duncan in basketball … Earl Campbell back in the 70’s in the NFL; players who selflessly commit their bodies to a common TEAM cause. Callahan is also the personification of work ethic. Professional sports, for all the celebrity and dollars, offer short careers by any standard. Callahan’s six year deal includes a partial no trade clause (what he sought with New York), thus providing him with a new home for the foreseeable future.
Tampa Bay gets a gritty workhorse who will inspire his teammates by giving his maximum effort all the time. The Lightning will thrive over the next few years and hopefully, with a superstar like Steven Stamkos, and the pool of young talent they have now, they’ll get their shot at the Stanley Cup. I hope for Callahan’s sake that he gets that shot. I can think of no one who deserves it more.
Journeying through a Rangers Facebook site the other day, I noticed a few nasty comments hurled Callahan’s way, but for the most part, Ranger fans (I believe) wish their former Captain the best. For the few morons who take cheap shot comments, calling him a traitor, of all things, well … they’re morons. How does seeking a no trade clause equate to being a traitor? It doesn’t. Like I said, the comment came from a moron.
A lot of “what ifs” have followed the Callahan-St. Louis trade back in March. Would the Rangers have gone to the finals without Martin St. Louis? Would Callahan have held them back? I can’t believe anyone could even suggest such nonsense. St. Louis wasn’t even close to the leading goal scorer for the Rangers in the 19 games he played at the end of the season and Brian Boyle, another of my favorite Rangers, had the same number of goals in the finals as St. Louis.
The Rangers made it to the playoffs with Cally a bunch of times. Hell, he sent them there a couple of years ago with a birthday overtime goal vs. Detroit.
Imagine what an overtime goal would’ve meant in the finals this year. No need to imagine, Kings' Captain, Dustin Brown, scored one in the second game of the finals, a double overtime win for the Kings.
As far as the Rangers run to the finals this year, I think it’s pretty obvious that they were as fortunate as the Canadians were unfortunate when Carey Price went down in the first game of the series and the Canadians were forced to play with a third string goalie brought up at the last minute for games 2-6. Does anyone seriously think the Rangers would’ve gotten past the Flyers without Lundqvist in Net? It took them 7 games to move on with the King.
I saw some missing net presence for the Rangers throughout the finals, but that’s all water under the bridge now. All I know is that captains make a difference … and it was fitting that the team with a captain won the finals … and that the captain (Dustin Brown) got to hoist the cup for his teammates and their city.
Last year Callahan had shoulder surgery and missed training camp and some early season games (although he was back in action much sooner than anyone expected--no surprise here). This year he's healthy ... so come on, hockey season!
The wife is very happy it’s Tampa because she wants to retire where it’s warm. I would’ve preferred Montana or Maine, but I’m still happy Callahan is with a team that’s destined to be great in the near future.
So, congrats to our guy, Ryan Callahan. And Go Bolts!
His first of many, many more. Net presence, baby. Net presence.
Side note: Congrats to a few of my favorite Rangers for making it so deep into the playoffs (and for the great efforts they give on the ice) … Dan Girardi, Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello, Dominick Moore, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, Kris Kreider and the King, Henrik Lundqvist.
Because this is a family blog (cough, cough), I won’t say what I think of Glen Sather.
What we’re reading now/next weeks …
Unexploded, by Alison MacLeod … a wonderful novel set in Brighton, England during World War II … A husband and wife become estranged as tensions mount over the expected Nazi invasion of England. Review next week.
And then the next few weeks, it’ll be crime fiction week …
A Small Sacrifice, by Dana King … nominated for a Shamus Award.
All the Young Warriors, by Anthony Neil Smith …
Crazy Ann Coulter … She has issues with Soccer (and immigrants and decency in general) … “Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay.” You think this whackjob maybe has a few issues? “If more 'Americans' are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law," Coulter adds. "I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time."
Oy vey … can anyone shut her up?
Melanie, Lay It Down (Candles in the Rain)…