Mailbag: The most under publicized captain

Long time fan of the blog Andy sent me an email this morning with a link to an article put together by Jay Adams of Cave Magazine. The article looks at Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, and how he could be the most under appreciated and under publicized captain in New York sports today:

Knicks captain Carmelo Anthony had a reality show on VH1. Giants captain Eli Manning has been on the cover of every major newspaper twice in the last five years. Jets captain Mark Sanchez was a GQ cover story. And Yankees captain Derek Jeter? Well, we know more about his ex-girlfriends than we do about the entire Yankees outfield.

To be fair, this is true for a reason. Adams points out that Cally is under publicized, but hockey as a sport is under publicized. Is it all that surprising to see that the blue collar captain, the heart and soul of the Rangers, isn’t well known in New York?

Considering his stats this year, which are better than most really give him credit for, it is a bit surprising that mainstream media hasn’t picked up on him the way they have with the aforementioned captains:

Callahan had 29 this season. That’s more than Claude Giroux, Thomas Vanek, Anze Kopitar, Martin St. Louis, Eric Staal, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler and Dany Heatley.  For the record, Callahan played fewer games than any of them.

I had to read that twice to really have that sink in. It shocked me. All those players hold such star power in the NHL, but it is Callahan who has more goals than all of them. Perhaps it is the fact that he does it in a blue collar way, and doesn’t flash the skill that any of the above players show. Cally does it by getting to the net and banging home garbage goals.

Callahan is under publicized because he is not the flashy guy on the team. He has a quiet nature about him. He leads by example, but he has the entire locker room following his lead. In fact, Callahan reminds me of another Ranger great. One that was never highly publicized. One that played blue collar hockey and the fans loved him for it.

Ryan Callahan reminds me of Adam Graves.

It’s funny, because to really let that sink in, you have to take a step back and look at what each brings/brought to their respective clubs. There are/were both the heart and soul of their teams. They stick up for teammates. They play blue collar hockey. They stand in front of the net. They bang home dirty goals.

They are the only two to win the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award three times. They do/did it all for their respective clubs, and they did it without much fanfare.

Is Ryan Callahan under publicized? Absolutely, just like Graves. But maybe he wants it like that?

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  • Honestly, I think most professional hockey players like it this way.

    Our cultural fixation with turning athletes into celebrities is really quite odd. These are guys supremely gifted at doing what they do, competing in a sport, in this case hockey. But beyond that, they’re just average guys. They shouldn’t need PR managers. They shouldn’t be subjected to the tabloids, paparazzi and media circus that surround the prototypical self-absorbed Hollywood star. Yet, that’s the case with the A-Rods, Jeters, and Carmelo’s of the sports world. I think it detracts from the game.

    Thankfully for hockey players, the NHL has never reached such a national pinnacle of commercialized absurdity as the NBA or NFL. And while I wish that these guys could get the respect they deserve in the local and national SPORTS media, I sincerely hope it never reaches THAT pinnacle.

    • I don’t know if I’d go that far. Both of those guys are Hall of Fame players who were among the best at the position they played. Does Cally really fit into that mold?

  • Mostly a no name player on a team that has’nt won anything will get ya that and a bag of chips. Asking the media to do more with a sport that is allready back page news is like putting the cart before the horse.

  • Here’s how much hockey and the Rangers are respected in NY:

    The day after the Rangers clinched the Eastern Conference, the story on the back page of the Post (or Daily News, I forget) was about baseball and the Yankees.

  • We all know hockey does not get the coverage as the other sports. Look…we are on CNBC for the playoffs. That being said…..Cally is OUR CAPTAIN and WE APPRECIATE him.

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