He is the captain. He can score goals. He blocks shots. He kills penalties. He plays his heart out every single time he steps on the ice. Every New York Rangers fan knows that I am talking about Ryan Callahan.
Callahan is set to return to the lineup Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Callahan tore his labrum in January last year but only missed a game and played through it the rest of the season. The Rangers have lacked a competitive fire in the preseason and in their first regular-season game. They didn’t have the usual jam to their lineup that Callahan brings. When Callahan is out of the lineup you can just see that the Rangers lack some fire.
Alain Vigneault should not ease Callahan back into the lineup. According to the New York Daily News, Callahan will be starting with Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt on the third line. This is a bad move for Vigneault. Callahan should be playing with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan. When they were on the first line last season, they were one of the best lines in hockey. They have a great combination of skill, speed, and grit. Callahan is clearly the one who brings that last part. But he will also help the Rangers power play with his net presence and will help the penalty kill with his relentless play.
Callahan coming back is the best news the Rangers have gotten in a while. You could make an argument that no player on any team in the league means more to his team than Callahan does to the Rangers.