Thursday, May 3, 2012
Callahan finding his voice
By Katie Strang
According to Rangers coach John Tortorella, team captain Ryan Callahan didn't waste too much energy yammering on the bench during the team's 2-1 triple-overtime win over the Caps that lasted 114:41 minutes.
"I'm not sure if Ryan Callahan said two words on the bench during the game," Tortorella said on Thursday's conference call with reporters. "It's what he does on the ice."
Callahan, the very embodiment of the team's black-and-blue identity that was on full display in Game 3, finished the game with a power-play goal, four hits and five blocked shots in 41:48 of ice time. The 27-year-old set the tone with his play, but also bolstered the team's spirits between periods in a vocal form of leadership that has evolved in his first year as captain.
"I'm not sure if two years ago he would've felt comfortable in that situation," Tortorella said. "But in between periods in that locker room, his voice was heard."
Tortorella said he was impressed by the response of his entire team, particularly the young players, in digging deep and finding a way to win under such adverse circumstances. He called it "a positive note," but said he didn't want the team to lose perspective.
"I just don't want us to get too carried away, because it's part of it," he said. "It's a good lesson for us early. We're probably going to have to do it again."
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Although Brandon Dubinsky made the trip with the team to D.C., he does not appear to be nearing a return. The 26-year-old forward has not skated since suffering a leg injury in Game 7 of the quarterfinals. He watched Game 3 from the press box while outfitted with crutches and a boot on his foot.
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Tortorella would not divulge any lineup changes for Game 4 although it is possible he may choose to use defenseman Steve Eminger against his former team in place of seldom-used blue-liner Stu Bickel. Often the odd man out when Tortorella chooses to shorten the bench, Bickel's limited role was even more pronounced in the wake of Wednesday's epic battle that spanned more than four hours. He played only three shifts for 3:24.