There are numerous things the New York Rangers have struggled with so far through the preseason and one regular season game which resulted in a loss. Trying to fit into a new system, the Blueshirts have had trouble finding any resemblance of the tough, talented team they have been the past two seasons. Help is on its way in the form of the heart and soul of the team: The Captain.
Oh Captain, my Captain.
Ryan Callahan, who has missed all offseason workouts, preseason and the first regular season game due to rehabbing from shoulder surgery, is set to return to New York’s lineup Monday night vs. Los Angeles Kings.
Since his tenure began with New York, Callahan has always been there to provide big plays in key moments of games for the Rangers. Whether it’s a gritty forecheck, a gutsy penalty kill or a timely goal, Callahan can do it all. His inspiring play is contagious among his teammates who tend to elevate their play when the Captain is on the ice.
This team needs to be held accountable when they don’t perform. There is too much talent on this roster for them to continue to struggle. It was never going to be an easy transition playing under John Tortorella to Alain Vigneault, who have two very different systems, but there is no excuse for a lack of effort. Callahan will hold players accountable, and whether they win or not, expect the Rangers to follow their Captain into battle and compete in every game.
The grit and heart Rangers fans adore in their team has returned to the lineup in the form of No. 24. New York is finally getting their Captain back, and just in time.
Martin Burns covers New York Rangers hockey for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter for more thoughts and news on the Blueshirts as well as the rest of the NHL!