Ryan Callahan Must Be Consistent Spark Plug Once Again With Absence Of Mats Zuccarello

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The news broke that New York Rangers‘ leading scorer, Mats Zuccarello, will miss the next three to four weeks after suffering a broken hand in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics playing for Team Norway.

Not only was Zuccarello the Rangers’ leader in points this 2013-14 NHL season so far, but he has proved to be the Rangers’ spark plug and energy provider in many of the Rangers’ victories this season. This job description used to filed under Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, but when he has been hurt and struggling to find his game throughout this season, it is Zuccarello who has taken over and picked up the slack. Well, it is now time for Callahan to return the favor.

Zuccarello is reported to miss a few weeks and approximately three to five of the Rangers’ next games, four out of five being against Eastern Conference opponents and two out those four from within the Metropolitan Division. The Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia FlyersBoston BruinsToronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes are the next five opponents, all in which the Rangers may be without Zuccarello and his spark, energy, grit and passion that he brings to the table every single game. So, it is going to be up to everyone in the Rangers’ locker room to step up in his absence, but even more so Callahan.

Why Callahan?

Well, not only is Callahan having an off year, 11 goals and 13 assists, but he is in his contract year and wants a huge raise from the Rangers. However, up to this point, he has not deserved even close to the money he is currently asking for, which is around the $7 million per year mark over seven seasons.

Callahan needs to show why he thinks he deserves that high asking price and why he is the Rangers’ captain (at least for now), and be that spark plug he was on a consistent game-to-game basis like in past seasons. He must lead by example and lead the Rangers’ to wins and points in the absence of the Rangers’ biggest surprise and leader in points, Zuccarello.

Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn, and join his Google network.

Related:
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