Callahanís Return Marks Real Beginning of Rangersí Season
Sure, the team forechecked hard, won some battles along the boards and created several really good scoring opportunities. With that said, however, something was missing.
That something was team captain Ryan Callahan. Callahan, who was recovering from left shoulder injury, is expected to be back in his team’s second game of the season against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
With Callahan expected to make his debut, it can be said that the real Rangers’ season can finally begin. Callahan, who may not have scoring ability of Alex Ovechkin or the soft hands of Sidney Crosby, brings so many different intangibles that will all prove to be important for the Blueshirts this season.
Something that was missed in their loss to the Coyotes was an ability to drive hard to the net.
Had Callahan been in the lineup, there might have been a much different result. Callahan is a player that pounces on rebounds, creates havoc in front of the net for opposing defensemen and goaltenders and is someone who creates space for his linemates.
When it comes to facing the Kings, one way to beat netminder Jonathan Quick is by getting to loose pucks in front of the net. Callahan is the Ranger that does that the best.
A big part of the Rangers’ winning hockey games is their physical style of play.
That was another thing that was missing last Thursday night. The Coyotes were able to get to loose pucks and establish presence in the offensive zone because not enough Rangers played with the physicality that is needed to win hockey games.
Captain Callahan is someone who does that and more. He will hit people in open ice, in the defensive zone, along the boards, in front of the net, etc., in order to get control of the puck, something the
Rangers will need to do a lot of if they want to keep the Kings off the board.
Special Teams Play
One of the biggest problems for the Rangers’ last season was the play of their power play and with a ¼ showing Last Thursday night, they need someone to be able to contribute in that situation.
“Cally” is a player that can do that. Last season, Callahan led the team with six power play goals.
Speaking of special teams, Callahan is also the club’s best penalty killer. He knows to get the puck out of the zone, kill time on the clock and block shots, all things that are needed to help a team win a hockey game.
Defines the Word Leader
Simply put, the team always plays better when their leader is on the ice.
With Callahan expected to be on the ice against the Kings, one can expect a much better effort from the Rangers in their second game of the season.