Rangers prepping without Callahan


GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- One man can't fill the void that would be left if Rangers captain Ryan Callahan misses time with a shoulder injury he suffered Thursday night.

"He's a huge part of our team," Rangers forward Derek Stepan said. "But everyone is going to have to step up, take a little bit of his pie, and try to do some of the things he does. It's going to take six, seven, eight guys to fill the role that Cally does."

Callahan was expected to get an MRI on Wednesday afternoon on his left shoulder and his status for Thursday's game against Pittsburgh is unknown, although his coach and teammates all talked as if they weren't going to have Callahan for the game, and perhaps longer.

The forward suffered the injury during a fight in the third period of the Rangers' 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night, leaving the ice favoring that shoulder after the skirmish. Teammate Marian Gaborik said Wednesday that Callahan's shoulder popped out during his fight with Maxime Talbot.

"I don't think you fill his role. I felt that in the third period last night when we were protecting the lead, that's a very big part of his game," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It comes through to team, through team concept. Every team goes through the injuries, and just playing that much better in the situations that he's been put in throughout his career, it needs to be done as a group."

Callahan, in his seventh year with the Rangers, isn't one who pads the stat sheet, but he brings consistency across the boards. He plays on the team's second line and has two goals through the first six games, with his second score coming in Tuesday's win.

On special teams, he's an integral part of the team's penalty kill, and also is part of the power play. He's scored two of the team's three power-play goals this season.

Combine that with his leadership, which helped earn him captaincy, and his willingness to put his body on the line each night, it makes Callahan's effect on the game go deeper than just the stats. It's a huge hole for the team to fill if he misses any stretch of games.

"It's a big loss," Gaborik said. "Hopefully he will be back soon with us, he's a big part of our team. It is what it is. We just have to have everybody chip in some other ways as well."

If Callahan isn't able to go, the Rangers will need other players to step up and try be more productive in his absence. Tortorella and the players all mentioned how Callahan's absence opens the door for some players to get some ice time they may not have received were he healthy. The team did not call up any players from the AHL for Wednesday's practice, although defenseman Stu Bickel skated with the forwards.

One player the Rangers could use a boost from is Stepan, who serves on that second line with Callahan. Although he's fifth on the team with four points, he has yet to score a goal.

"Individually I'm still working on my game, I still got a lot to sharpen up," Stepan said. "I think now with Cally out it's going to be most important to really get it straightened out now."