Ryan Callahan returns to the Garden tonight

captain cally
Captain Clutch

Tonight is just another game in the Rangers action-packed, though sometimes exhausting November, right? Sure, they’re up against the best offensive team in hockey, a team tied for second in points in the entire National Hockey League, so it’ll be a tough one, but otherwise, nothing crazy happening tonight at the Garden.

The talent here at BSB later today will post about what kind of special teams they throw and exactly who to watch for (spoiler alert: it’s still Steven Stamkos.. and Tyler Johnson, who you’ve probably never heard of), but this morning we need to focus on what MSG has been pushing for weeks, the big elephant in the room. Tonight marks the return of former captain Ryan Callahan, along with Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle, and much like ripping off a bandaid, I think we’ll all feel better once it’s done.

I’ll have to preface everything said here with a few facts: I was upset when Callahan got traded, but warmed up to Martin St. Louis. I thought that Boyle and Stralman would both go, and rightfully so, because the Rangers couldn’t afford what either was asking for. I wanted, if we could sign one of the two, to keep Stralman, who I think was consistently underrated as a Ranger. I also think that Ryan McDonagh needs some time to learn to walk in his Captain Shoes.. err.. Skates, and getting hurt hasn’t helped him one bit.

When the Rangers hired Alain Vigneault prior to last season, it marked an inevitable change in protocol. Gone were the days of our coach potentially having a heart attack behind the bench and going through training camps so notoriously hard that if you didn’t vomit, you weren’t doing it right. It was an adjustment and it was one heck of a successful season. As the season wore on, though, with an expiring contract, it became clearer that our shot-blocking, net-crowding captain could potentially be gone before the season ended.

Cally never signed a contract extension. The season wore on, followed by the Olympics, and then only a couple of weeks remained for management and agent to figure it all out. Of course, fans called each side greedy, as we are known to do despite having a fraction of the full details. The Rangers hosted their Casino Night benefit only two nights before the trade deadline, when I would imagine both sides knew that a trade was happening. In standard Captain Cally fashion, he was gracious and engaging with the crowd at a time when he very well could have been nothing short of a jerk. This behavior fit his personality as the Rangers captain for four years.

I can understand people not wanting to follow the Lightning now and not particularly caring how Callahan (or Boyle, or Stralman) are doing in Florida. I can’t understand why there would be any specific animosity towards any of these players in the present tense, especially if the Rangers pull two points tonight. Do I miss Callahan? Sure do. Am I glad we have St. Louis? Yup. Will Ryan McDonagh be a great captain? I believe (and hope) so. Did I leave my hair iron on? Wait…

Ryan Callahan was a stand up and wonderful captain for our club. He seemed to inspire within the locker room and was fantastic with media. He threw himself in front of shots game after game that could have seriously injured him, and he did so with no complaints. He handled the pressures of a big city market. The team has evolved, and has done so without him, but if you’re at the Garden tonight, you really ought to be clapping once Cally returns to his former home ice.

17 thoughts on “Ryan Callahan returns to the Garden tonight

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I may have been the harshest critic of this trade on this site when it happened, predicting it would go down as one of the Rangers worst trades: a heart and soul, energetic captain born and raised in NY for an aging, washed up former superstar. It had all the trappings of an infamous Rangers trade bust. And, for 19 games or, St Louis proved me right.

    Since then, he’s been one of NY’s best players who has been a consistent spring of energy and passion. He’s softened my take on this trade with time.

    But tonight I will shed a tear (metaphorical or otherwise) for Captain Cally.

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Once AV came on as coach, you had to know he’d fill the team with players that fit his strategy. Hard working 2-way or defensive minded players would be weaned out for skilled puck moving ones. Although I think the kind of team Torts built is exactly what AV would succeed with. He’s going to have some say in what kind of players the team is built around.
    Seems like an uptick in GA are a product of guys like Callahan & B. Boyle leaving and D. Boyle and MSL coming in.

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I, for one, will be wearing my Cally jersey tonight and cheer his return.

    Then I hope we beat the pants off his new team.

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I’ll be wearing my Cally jersey tonight as well.

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    i’m happy to see these guys succeeding, but brian boyle – why did he leave?? he is not seeing any substantial increase in his ice time in TB vs NY, i thought that was the crux of the issue for him? i find it hard to believe the rangers couldn’t have met his other contract demands, which were modest and appropriate for his role on the team.

    • Nov 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm


      Boyle wanted a larger role than his 4th line duties in NY. Signs with Tampa. Slots in as 4th line center.

      Callahan wants upwards of $6 million per year. Rejects Rangers offer that is $500k lower than his demands, gets traded to Tampa and resigns for less than Rangers offered.

      Not a lot of rhyme or reason in these decisions. But, both seem to be having career years in Tampa.

      • Nov 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm


        To the point of only $500K difference in pay, that is incorrect. The state of Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, nor does Tampa have an income tax. Living in NY State, and working in NYC, that comes out to about 12-15% less of his salary is saved, plus the additional $500K, turns out to be about $1 million plus or more per year, Now that is a hunk of change I think!!

        To the return of the three players tonight, they should be given a big hand, let them know that we appreciated their efforts, and wish them well down the road, but beat the snot out of them tonight!!!!!!!

        • Nov 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm

          Cally wanted an NTC, Stralman wanted an NTC (and a buttload more money), both got what they wanted from tampa, fair.

          The tax question is interesting, players’ taxes are much more complicated than just what state they live and the home team, I think they file in jurisdictions where the play away games including Canada and get credit back to the home state taxes. I remember reading somewhere that NHL players file taxes in like 15 states. Any CPAs on the blog??

        • Nov 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm


          to be clear, I did not say that there was a $5000k salary difference between what NY offered and what Tampa offered.

          I noted that there was a $500k salary difference between what NY offered Callahan ($36 million over 6 years) and what Callahan demanded ($39 million over 6 years). Callahan went on to resign for even lower with Tampa ($34.8 million over 6 years).

          Callahan left off pre-taxed income of $4.2 million over 6 years from his initial demand in NY to ultimate signing in Tampa. And, I’m highly skeptical of major athletes actually paying the full NYS/NYC rate of 12.75%. Players, as wwpd noted, file portions of their taxes in over a dozen different states to cut corners, based on where they have a home, or road games are played, etc. So, the NY tax argument seems a bit inflated.

          • Nov 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm


            • Nov 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

              You guys may be correct on refunds, and or credits for the players, but again, he will reside in Florida, and still save income taxes, rather than declare NY state residency. Also correct me if I’m wrong, and it won’t be the first time I’m wrong, but didn’t he get a six year deal, and Slats wanted to only offer five years?????

              Bottom line he gets more money, gets longer term, and maybe just maybe, he wanted out???? Who really knows!!

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm



  • Nov 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    If Cally wanted to wear his Rangers jersey to tonight’s game as much as some fans do, he’d be in one tonight.

    • Nov 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      I’m glad Cally didn’t sign, the Rangers dodged a huge bullet. He may be playing well now, but in 2017-2018, when he is 32 with three full years left on that contract and his game has devolved into the ‘last days of Chris Drury’ minus the faceoff skills we will be glad he decided to go down to Tampa.

      This is why the cap sucks. It doesn’t allow fans to be sentimental and root for a winner. It’s one or the other (and usually you end up without either one).

      • Nov 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

        I totally agree.

  • Nov 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Good riddance to greedy rubbish is what I say. 8 years washed away in one bad negotiating tactic.

    Jorneymen like Boyle and stralman don’t even count. they spurned the team that gave them a chance. And they all got what they deserved.

    • Nov 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Yes, lots of money.

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