Sometimes a hockey player’s effectiveness (and career) comes to a halt because their bodies simply cannot take any more. One excellent example of a player whose body let him down is Adam Deadmarsh, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche. Unlike Eric Lindros – perhaps the most skilled player to be let down by his body – Deadmarsh, while talented, was known more for his work rate, physicality, and leadership. There are obvious similarities between Deadmarsh and Ryan Callahan.
Deadmarsh, like Callahan (a regular 20-30 goal forward in the NHL), eventually had to retire because of health problems. Enter the lockout. Ryan Callahan is a player that leads by example, that always finishes his checks, plays fearlessly and who is the hardest of hard-working players. He is exactly the type of player who stands to benefit from the unfortunate situation that is the NHL lockout.
Thanks in part to his style of play Callahan has missed several games for the Rangers and with no change of style likely it’s fair to worry that his physical nature will lead him to miss several more. Since becoming a full-time Ranger, Cally has only played more than 80 games once and has missed an entire post season because of injury. Callahan’s absence during those playoffs was profound.
Whereas players such as Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, and the younger players benefit from the extra hockey during a lockout (development, additional ice time, etc), a player such as the Rangers captain may benefit enormously from time off ice. Less physical abuse to his body and a period of regeneration will lead to a fresher, healthier Callahan. With a fully charged Callahan skating hard in to the corners at the opposition the Rangers would no doubt be a harder team to play against.
Everyone with a vested interest in the Rangers – whether in the media or a fan – has discussed how a well rested Henrik Lundqvist is critical to the Rangers, probably the epicentre of any team success. A well rested, ready to go Ryan Callahan – post lockout – is likely not far behind in importance.