With New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan most likely starting the season in the press box for the first month because he is recovering from shoulder surgery, who takes over his leadership role in the Rangers’ locker room, if any?
No one is going to wear the captain’s C for the first month of the 2013-14 season, because I feel that is disrespectful to Callahan and I am sure all of the players in the locker room feel the same way. Rangers star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would be an obvious choice since he leads by example on and off the ice, and is arguably the sole reason why the Rangers make it as far as the playoffs.
Brad Richards is a seasoned veteran coming off of a horrible season last year, but is very determined this offseason to rebound, and I think he will take a bigger leadership role just to prove to the guys that his career is not all but over. Also, you cannot dismiss defensemen like Dan Girardi, or more likely Marc Staal, who would probably be the Rangers’ captain if they did not have Callahan.
In my opinion, with the loss of Callahan for the first month of the year, the Rangers will need to have a group of players, and not just one, to emerge as leaders to get the team through October. The first month will be brutal not just because the Rangers will be missing their captain, but because the Blueshirts will be on the road for the first nine games of the season thanks to renovations being done at Madison Square Garden.
With all of that being said, there is no need to be worried about lack of leadership with the type of players they have in that locker room … maybe just scoring ability and whether they can win games.