Monday, September 12, 2011

Ryan Callahan Named Captain of New York Rangers

Today, via twitter, the New York Rangers announced that Ryan Callahan will be the 26th captain in the history of the franchise.  Along with the announcement of Callahan as the Captain, Marc Staal and Brad Richards were named the Alternates.

These captains should not surprise anyone as Callahan was the defacto captain last season and, as I wrote this morning, epitomizes everything that coach John Tortorella wants his team to be.  Callahan's fierce competitiveness and willingness to whatever it takes to help the team win is exactly what you want to be the face of your leader and have him hold the rest of the team accountable to meet that lofty standard.  There is a jump from being an alternate to the captain of the team, but Callahan is ready to take that step and lead the Blueshirts to where they need to go.

Marc Staal earned his alternate captaincy with how he performed wearing the "A" last season and while there was some question about whether Brad Richards would get the other "A" or not given the Rangers commitment to the young leaders on the team, he has all the qualities to make him worthy of the honor.

Update: Statement from Glen Sather on Callahan as Captain via Blueshirts United

"Ryan Callahan embodies all the leadership qualities we seek from our Captain. He leads by example with courage and tireless work ethic on and off the ice, which is why he is so deserving of this honor."

Rangers To Announce Captaincy Today: Final Predictions of What They Will Do

The New York Rangers announced last night via twitter that the team will announce the captains for the 2011-12 season today.  The decision to announce the captains now is interesting considering when the season ended coach John Tortorella was insistent that the captaincy would not be decided until training camp.  Part of me takes the change in the timing to mean that it could be something that might not be popular with the fans, but that could just be reading too much into what is to come later today.
My final predictions on who will be named the captains.
Captain: Ryan Callahan
Ryan Callahan is the epitome of the identity that coach John Tortorella has been trying to build with the team over the past few seasons.  A tough, hard-nosed player that does everything to help his team win and added offense to his package last season is a worthy candidate.  Add to that the fact that he was already the de-facto captain last season with the absence of Chris Drury.  Also working in Callahan’s favor is the fact that he gives many of the cliché responses interviews, which appears to be what Tortorella likes in his captains in dealing with the media.  The biggest thing working against Callahan is his injuries and whether they want someone who is more likely to be on the ice for the full season.
Alternate: Marc Staal 
Marc Staal could be a darkhorse to get the ‘C,’ and I personally would give it to him, but it feels like a longshot to happen.  Staal should be guaranteed an “A” this season as he is an incumbent letter holder who earned it last season.  He is the leader of the defense corps, and outside of Henrik Lundqvist arguably the most irreplaceable player and his value to the Rangers is something they will recognize. 
Alternate: Brad Richards
Brad Richards history with coach John Tortorella, experience as a letter wearer with multiple teams and Stanley Cup all work for him.  The only thing really working against Richards is the fact that he was not on the team last year and how the organization has talked up the younger home grown players becoming the leaders of the team. 
The decision on what the Rangers do with the second will be very telling of what they see as the direction of the team.   They can go with Richards who has the credentials to warrant the position if not the outright captaincy or they could go with another homegrown player like Brandon Dubinsky or Dan Girardi who typify what the Rangers have been striving to make the team all about.  I still believe that Richards will get the nod for at least an ‘A’ and it will leave players who would be deserving of a letter  without one on their sweater.