The New York Rangers have announced, to no surprise to anyone who follows the team on a regular basis, that Ryan Callahan has been named the team’s 26th captain. Marc Staal and Brad Richards will be alternate captains.
Brian Leetch, who was captain for three years, (1997-2000) was the last captain of the Rangers to come up through the organization prior to Callahan. Since Leetch the Rangers have had just three other captains; “THE Captain,” Mark Messier, Jaromir Jagr and the recently retired Trumbull native, Chris Drury.
But for Callahan this almost seemed inevitable. From the time he first set foot on the ice at the then Hartford Civic Center in a Hartford Wolf Pack uniform, you could tell that there was something different about this young man from Rochester, New York.
It was simple…he was a leader.
Now a new era in New York can officially begin for the Rangers. Ryan Callahan will lead the Blueshirts in much the same way that Mark Messier did. Whether that will be to a Stanley Cup or not, there’s no way at this minute to say that definitively, but if you follow this team on a regular basis, all of the right things are being done to make this organization ready to go after it.
The other decision to keep Staal and add Richards to the leadership group of this team was also the right thing to do.
Staal is both the top defenseman on this team now and heading for the future. Richards has signed a big contract and will be expected to be a leader on this team for years. He has been a leader before and with the burden on his back, this is also an appropriate honor.
Here’s the official release:
RYAN CALLAHAN NAMED 26th RANGERS CAPTAIN
New York, September 12, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward Ryan Callahan has been named the 26th captain in franchise history. Brad Richards will join Marc Staal as the club’s two alternate captains.
“Ryan Callahan embodies all the leadership qualities we seek from our Captain,” Sather said. “He leads by example with courage and a tireless work ethic on and off the ice, which is why he is so deserving of this honor.”
Callahan, 26, has served as a Rangers Alternate Captain for the last two seasons after being named to the post on October 2, 2009. He captured a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, and is a two-time Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner (2008-09 and 2009-10). Last season, Callahan captured the Players’ Player Award, as voted by his teammates, and the John Halligan Good Guy Award, selected by the NY chapter of the PHWA in recognition of cooperation with the media.
Entering his fifth season in the NHL, Callahan was originally selected as the Rangers’ fourth round choice, 127th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has registered 76 goals and 68 assists for 144 points, along with 179 penalty minutes in 284 career regular season games. Callahan has reached the 40-point plateau and surpassed the 20-goal mark in two of the last three seasons, and has recorded 200-plus hits in each of the last three seasons. The Rochester, New York native enjoyed his most productive season in 2010-11, establishing career-highs in goals (23), assists (25) and points (48) despite missing 22 games due to injury. He tallied his first career hat trick with four goals and a career-high five points on March 6 vs. Philadelphia, and notched his first career penalty shot goal on October 30 at Toronto. On October 23, Callahan registered his 100th career point with an assist on the game-winning goal at Boston. Callahan made his NHL debut on December 1, 2006 at Buffalo, and tallied his first career NHL point with a two-goal performance on March 17, 2007 vs. Boston.
(Photo courtesy of nyrzone.com)