New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan

Callahan: No regrets

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
2:31
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The date was circled on multiple calendars, from the day the NHL schedule came out. It was anticipated by many, from the moment the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning made their captain for captain trade of Ryan Callahan for Martin St. Louis.

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Mike Carlson/Getty ImagesAsked about his time playing at MSG, Callahan said, "It's a place I loved playing."
St. Louis played 13 seasons with the Lightning, and won a Stanley Cup there. Callahan played eight seasons with the Rangers, and many fans still wear his jersey to games at Madison Square Garden.

They were traded for each other last March 4, but meet for the first time since then when the Rangers play the Lightning Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

"It's a place I loved playing," Callahan said Monday, after the Lightning's morning skate.

Callahan returns with a Tampa Bay team that also features his former Ranger teammates Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, who left as free agents in the summer after helping the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring.

"I think this is Ryan Callahan night more than anything," Stralman said.

Either that, or it's Martin St. Louis night. St. Louis figures he'll be more emotional when the Rangers visit Tampa next week, but his teammates understand that the first meeting with his ex-team is a big deal, too.

"Knowing him, he's going to have his legs," Rangers center Derick Brassard said. "He's going to be fired up."

The captain for captain trade has worked out for both teams. St. Louis helped the Rangers on their best playoff run in 20 years. Callahan who was a free agent last summer, re-signed with the Lightning and now features on a team that has one of the NHL's best records (12-4-2, compared to the Rangers' 7-6-4).

Callahan never wanted to leave New York, but when negotiations on a contract extension broke down, the Rangers made the deal. Stralman and Boyle would also have liked to stay, but salary cap limits helped convince the Rangers to let them leave.

"I don't think you can regret anything," Callahan said. "As I've said all along, it's the nature of the business."

He had to watch from afar as the Rangers made their playoff run. Callahan has many close friends in the Rangers locker room -- he met up with several of them when the Lightning came to town Sunday -- so he says he was happy to see them get to the finals.

Now they're competitors in the Eastern Conference, and the Lightning represent a hockey challenge to the Rangers, even more than an emotional challenge.

"It'll be an emotional night," Brassard said. "But we need those two points."

The Duke returns, too: The Rangers will have 19-year-old Anthony Duclair back in the lineup Monday, after he was a healthy scratch for the last three games. Coach Alain Vigneault said he made the decision in part on the matchup with the Lightning.

The Rangers have been excited by Duclair's skills, but want him to learn to play better off the puck. They need to decide if they can get him enough playing time, but they know that if they send him back to his junior team in Quebec, they can't bring him back until the end of the season.

"I think it's better for me to stay up here, to be honest," Duclair said. "If I go back, I don't think I have much to prove in juniors."

Jesper Fast will be the Rangers' healthy scratch Monday.

No to Kaberle: The Rangers decided against signing veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who played two games over the weekend with their Hartford affiliate in the AHL.

McDonagh returning? Vigneault said that Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, out since Nov. 1 with a separated left shoulder, should be able to resume skating this week. The Rangers initially estimated that McDonagh would miss 3-4 weeks.

Rapid Reaction: Callahan trade

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
1:25
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I’m trying to give a gut-instinct reaction to this stunning swap of captains on trade deadline day, with the Rangers sending Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay in exchange for Martin St. Louis, but there is so much to digest in a deal of this magnitude. My initial thought, though, is that the deal could work for both sides.

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1. Are the Rangers a better team than they were this morning? Yes, I believe so. I know there are some people complaining about St. Louis’ age and the year left on his contract, but even at 38, he is one hell of a player who brings a strong winning pedigree to New York. The defending Art Ross Trophy winner, who has a year remaining on a four-year deal that comes with an annual average value of $5.625 million, is still among the elite scoring threats in the league. St. Louis is eighth in the NHL with 61 points, and neither his work ethic nor his production waned despite his unhappiness about being initially left off the 2014 Canadian Olympic team. He provides an excellent net presence and experience level to the Rangers and he has had success in the past with his good buddy Brad Richards, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay in 2004. A leader both on and off the ice, he will make the Rangers better. That’s not a knock on Callahan, who was the type of heart-and-soul leader that made him a beloved teammate on Broadway, but St. Louis definitely has the edge in terms of the offense and creativity he brings to the Rangers.

2. Could the Rangers and Callahan have gotten a deal done? Yes, but the Rangers never seemed sold on keeping the captain in the wake of his long-term contract requests. There was a chasm when the two sides first began swapping proposals, but the parties made significant progress in the past week. One source told ESPNNewYork.com that the two sides were within “spitting distance” as recently as Wednesday morning, until the Rangers appeared to move in a different direction.

What does this suggest? That obtaining St. Louis was the bigger priority, that this was the player they believe gives them a better chance to win. Without the same type of competition that exists out West, there is the belief that the East might be much more wide-open in the playoff race. Pittsburgh remains the top dog in the conference, and the Rangers have yet to prove they can compete with the Bruins, but St. Louis adds a different dynamic in this sense. I truly believe the Rangers love Callahan as a player, particularly his unrelenting style and sacrifice on the ice, but I don’t think general manager Glen Sather was crazy about paying what Callahan will surely be able to fetch on the open market. Concerns about durability definitely play a part in that as well, with Callahan having missed time with three injuries this season.

3. Who won the trade? As I mentioned before, I think there are benefits to both sides. The Rangers get a proven scoring threat at a totally reasonable cap hit, while the Lightning acquire an effective rental player, a pair of valuable picks and appease their disgruntled captain. I don’t think we’ll really know the true winner and loser of this deal until much further down the road, especially given the stipulations of the conditional picks sent to the Lightning. The Rangers send a first-round pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2014, though the second-rounder becomes a first-rounder if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals.

Also, if Callahan re-signs in Tampa -- a possibility that is difficult to gauge at this time -- the Rangers would receive a second-round pick from Tampa Bay, and the Lightning would receive a seventh-rounder in 2015. (Got that? Confusing, I know.) Now, wouldn’t it be great if the two teams meet in the playoffs?

Callahan: I want to be here, we'll see

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
11:23
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NEW YORK -- Will Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins be remembered as Ryan Callahan's last game as a New York Ranger?

The 28-year-old captain said he didn’t consider that possibility.

“No, I didn’t look at it like that. This is where I want to be. I’m just focused on doing what I can for the team.”

[+] EnlargeCallahan
Rebecca Taylor/NHLI/ Getty ImagesWill the Rangers grant Ryan Callahan's wish and keep his fans happy?
With the Rangers having played their final game before the NHL’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, all Callahan can do now is wait to see how the situation unfolds.

The pending unrestricted free agent has yet to come to terms on a contract extension with the Rangers and though the two sides have met in the middle on a six-year term -- multiple sources confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that Callahan's camp has moved off it's initial request of seven years -- they are still working to bridge the gap on salary. Still, GM Glen Sather appears committed to moving the heart-and-soul winger if he can’t get him under contract soon.

Hence, the rampant speculation that has been hounding Callahan over the past month, when news first broke that he was being shopped.

Understandably, he is ready to put all that talk behind him soon.

“Yeah, definitely,” Callahan said. “It’s been on my mind -- there’s no secret there -- so it’ll be nice to get it done with and move past it.”

As it stands, Callahan is one of the most alluring players on the market, though this deadline seems to have the makings of an unusual one in the type of talent that may be available. Both Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis and Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler are reportedly seeking exits from their respective clubs, and players such as Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson will round out the rental market.

One player that will no longer be a trade target for the many playoff teams looking to solidify their blue line? Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, who inked a six-year $33 million contract extension with the Rangers on Friday.

With Girardi’s deal done, the question now is whether his good friend and teammate, Callahan, is next.

“Just wait and see, I guess,” Callahan said. “Obviously my heart’s still here and I want to be here, so we’ll see what happens.”


NEW YORK -- If the New York Rangers’ playoff journey takes them through Boston, as it did a year ago, they will have a tough time.

And that’s if the Rangers make it to the postseason at all.

Now, the team’s recent pair of defeats are not enough to seriously doubt the Rangers will be in the top-eight teams in what is a pretty mediocre Eastern Conference, but Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins was enough to raise some concern about whether the Blueshirts can compete with the league’s elite.

As they did last spring, the Rangers struggled against a physically imposing and skilled Boston squad, despite taking advantage of a sluggish start from the Bruins and dominating the majority of the first period.

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Paul Bereswill/Getty ImagesHenrik Lundqvist took a licking in the Rangers' loss.
Even after outplaying the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, the Rangers found themselves tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission after a defensive breakdown allowed veteran forward Jarome Iginla to crash the net for a tip-in that knotted the score.

Those breakdowns were problematic again in the second period, when youngsters Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg had plenty of room to operate, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

“It seems like we are having lapses,” captain Ryan Callahan said, after what could potentially be his last game as a Ranger. “Teams are capitalizing on us when we have those.”

The Rangers pulled within a goal before the second period was over on Brad Richards’ wrist shot from the right circle with 3:07 to go, but the Blueshirts managed little offensively afterward against rock-solid Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rask was terrific in making 39 saves for the night and helping the Bruins complete a series sweep against the Rangers.

And just like last spring, when the Bruins dispatched the Blueshirts handily in five games during the Eastern Conference semifinals, Boston’s fourth line gave them fits.

Gritty winger Gregory Campbell tallied twice in the third period before bruising winger Milan Lucic tipped Matt Bartkowski’s shot for the Bruins’ sixth goal of the night with 1:36 to play, one that would seal the victory for Boston.

“Painful. Extremely painful,” Lundqvist said. “I thought we played pretty good. Yeah, they worked hard, but their goals were unbelievable with the bounces they got, a couple of deflections and a post and in. It’s a tough end to this game.”

Coach Alain Vigneault was similarly unperturbed by the team’s play, as he too chalked up the loss to some bad bounces. But, the fact remains that in suffering back-to-back losses, the Rangers also surrendered critical ground in the Metropolitan Division standings, where the Flyers leap-frogged them for second place and the Washington Capitals pulled within a point.

“They are a good team. They are an elite team and they showed it tonight,” Vigneault said.

The Bruins did look like an elite team. And the Rangers did not. If that’s the case, what leads anyone to believe that this spring will be any different from the previous one?

“Every team will say you need to get in first, but we’ll get back to work on that. I’m confident that this group will get back to playing the full 60 minutes like we have been and we’ll get the big goals when we need them,” Richards said.

“It’s been a fun team to play on the last six, seven weeks. We’ve been doing a lot of good things. Can’t let this get [us] down. Teams go through this at different points of the season. It’s two games; we can’t let it snowball. We have to realize how we played in that first period, how dominant we were, and get back to work.”

W2W4: Rangers vs. Bruins

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
1:53
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At a glance: The New York Rangers will get right back to work Sunday night against the Boston Bruins after dropping one to the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers host the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins in a rematch of last spring’s Eastern Conference semis in the team’s final game before the NHL’s trade deadline on Wednesday.

Stay or go?: The biggest question facing the Rangers right now is whether Sunday will be captain Ryan Callahan’s last game with the Blueshirts. The 28-year-old winger, a pending unrestricted free agent, has yet to come to an agreement with the team on a contract extension, further fueling rampant speculation that he may be traded. And while GM Glen Sather locked up veteran defenseman Dan Girardi on Friday, a new deal for Callahan doesn’t look nearly as promising. The two sides still have a significant bridge to gap before Wednesday and whether Callahan remains a Ranger or not likely hinges on his willingness to take less than he will likely be offered in free agency July 1.

Close race: Saturday’s loss allowed to the Flyers was a disappointing one, particularly because it allowed some opponents to make up ground. With a win against the Capitals Sunday afternoon, the Flyers leap-frogged the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division standings and the Washington Capitals pulled within one point by taking the game to overtime. Columbus isn’t too far behind, either. The dark horse Blue Jackets are four points back but will have two games in hand after Sunday night. "Everybody [is] winning," coach Alain Vigneault said in his pre-game press briefing. "We've got to win."

Got your number: Though the Bruins have struggled out of the break, they have the chance to turn things around in New York, as well as complete a series sweep against the Rangers. Boston has dropped two consecutive games since returning from the Olympic break and is looking to avoid a three-game skid, which would be a season worst.

Lineup change: After returning to the lineup for the first time in two months Saturday, Derek Dorsett is back to the press box as a healthy scratch. Vigneault said he wants to afford Dorsett more practice to get back his timing considering the rugged winger missed almost two months with a broken leg. Dominic Moore will be back in Dorsett's place.
PHILADELPHIA -- Despite the Rangers’ 4-2 loss to the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, defenseman Dan Girardi had good reason to look relieved while answering questions in his stall after the game.

Girardi inked a six-year, $33 million contract extension with the Rangers on Friday afternoon, ending weeks of speculation that the 29-year-old defenseman might be traded.

Prior to signing his new deal on Friday, which will keep him in New York through 2020, Girardi was one of the most attractive potential rental players on the market along with teammate, good friend and team captain Ryan Callahan.

“I’m just really excited about the deal and to be a New York Ranger for my career,” said Girardi, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2006.

Instead of moving the top-pair veteran, which could’ve fetched an attractive return from a playoff team seeking to bolster its blue line, general manager Glen Sather locked him up long-term to a deal that, as ESPNNewYork.com reported on Friday, includes a full no-move clause in the first three years and a limited no-trade clause in the final three years.

The deal comes with an annual average value of $5.5 million, in line with what Girardi was reportedly seeking from the beginning of negotiations.

“I wish we could have gotten it done earlier, but that’s part of it,” Girardi said. “I’m just glad to be done and have it over with and work on the other guy now.”

The other guy, of course, is Callahan, whose progress toward a contract extension hasn’t been nearly as promising.

Unlike the Girardi situation, in which the two sides spoke consistently in the weeks leading up to the deal, Callahan’s camp and the club have gone through stretches without any communication.

Following the Olympic break, during which the two sides did not talk, talks have resumed, though they have yet to yield any significant progress.

Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told ESPNNewYork.com via email on Friday that the two sides are talking but that there is “nothing much to report besides that.”

Though multiple sources deny that Girardi’s deal will impact the Callahan situation, it’s hard to imagine his longtime teammate’s new deal won’t affect the 28-year-old winger’s thinking at all.

The two have been playing together since their junior hockey days in Guelph, Ontario, and their families are close.

Still, Girardi expressed doubt that one situation would have direct implications on the other, though he sounded hopeful a new deal gets done.

“You want to keep the captain of your team. I don’t think it affects him too much,” he said. “[I’m] letting him deal with it, work itself out, and hopefully in the next three or four days, we’ll see what happens.”

Before the game, coach Alain Vigneault was optimistic that Callahan could be next in forging a new pact.

Vigneault told reporters he was “confident” the two sides could come to an agreement prior to the NHL’s trade deadline on Wednesday.

Rangers miss chance to soar past Flyers

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
5:23
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Rangers fumbled a prime opportunity to pull away from the Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings, surrendering a 4-2 loss to their longstanding rivals at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

The Blueshirts, riding high after a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, also wasted a chance to jump on the Flyers early with two power-play chances in the first five minutes of play, instead allowing the Flyers to build a 2-0 first-period lead.

Ultimately, the Flyers were able to gain traction in the divisional standings, in which they trail the Rangers by a mere point with 21 games remaining in the regular season.

"The power play could have given us a lead, but their goaltender made some good saves. They made us pay on a couple of opportunities after that," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We battled back hard, won the second period, and in the third just didn’t get enough looks."

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's return to net was spoiled 7:04 into play as Anton Stralman’s stick directed a puck past him in a flukey first goal that put the Rangers on their heels. Lundqvist was deked and beaten by Sean Couturier just 66 seconds later, putting the Rangers into an uncomfortable 2-0 hole.

The Rangers responded in the second, however, with a strong surge that allowed them to tie the game at two with Derick Brassard’s power-play marker at 11:42. But, despite a strong effort, the Rangers fell behind again on a couple of critical breakdowns that allowed Wayne Simmonds to spin and shoot from the left circle for a go-ahead goal on the man advantage.

The Rangers bungled a couple of Grade-A opportunities in the middle frame -- both Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller whiffed on what would have been gimmies -- and couldn’t solve Flyers netminder Steve Mason in the third, either.

Mason, who was terrific in the first period, finished with 33 saves in his star performance, a critical one in helping the Flyers bounce back from Thursday’s 7-3 drubbing received from the San Jose Sharks.

"We were having success in the second," Ryan Callahan said. "For whatever reason, if it was them or us, we didn’t generate enough of that in the third."

Derek Dorsett returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 3. The gritty winger, who missed almost two months with a broken leg, was used on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Daniel Carcillo.

Before the game, Vigneault said he wanted to see both Dorsett and Carcillo together, but Saturday’s game, in which Carcillo spent the majority of the second period in the penalty box, made evaluating that trio a difficult task.

"We did a lot of good things," Lundqvist said, "But it wasn’t enough tonight."

W2W4: Rangers vs. Flyers

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
10:24
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At a glance: The Rangers returned to action with a big win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Now they travel to Philadelphia aiming to put even more distance between themselves and their bitter Broad Street rivals in the Metropolitan Division. Meanwhile, the Flyers, who trail the Blueshirts by three points in the standings, suffered a 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

Here to stay: With two huge questions hanging over them heading into the final week before the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline, the Rangers answered one Friday afternoon, locking up 29-year-old defenseman Dan Girardi to a six-year, $33 million deal. With Girardi’s deal done, attention now shifts to the protracted contract negotiations with captain Ryan Callahan. The 28-year-old winger, a pending unrestricted free agent, has yet to sign an extension with the club, making it appear increasingly likely that he could be traded by Wednesday. The two sides continue to talk, but little progress has been made towards keeping him on Broadway.

Return to action: After a stellar performance on Thursday from backup netminder Cam Talbot, who held the Hawks’ league-leading offense scoreless for over 59 minutes only to have his shutout spoiled with 11.6 seconds remaining in regulation, starter Henrik Lundqvist returns to the net Saturday for the first game of the Rangers’ back-to-back set this weekend. Lundqvist got plenty of work during the Olympic break, however, leading an injury-ravaged Swedish team to the gold-medal game against Canada. Though Lundqvist and his Swedish ‘mates had to settle for silver in Sochi, Lundqvist was named to the all-tournament team. He is expected to face Steve Mason on Saturday.

Long time coming: Derek Dorsett will make his return to action against a chippy Flyers squad as Alain Vigneault told reporters Saturday morning that the gritty winger, who hasn’t played in almost two months after suffering a broken leg back in January, will replace Dominic Moore in the lineup.

Girardi deal done, focus now on Callahan

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
6:01
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With the Dan Girardi deal done, attention will now fixate squarely and solely on the developing situation with Rangers captain Ryan Callahan.

Will he stay or will he go?

Whereas the Rangers and Girardi’s Newport Sports reps had frequent communication during the Olympic break and over the past week, that sort of dialogue has been largely missing from the team’s negotiations with Callahan.

Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told ESPNNewYork.com earlier this week that the two sides had no communication during the entire Olympic break, and though they have since resumed discussions over the past few days, there appears to be little to no appreciable progress.

“We have been talking but not much to report besides that,” Bartlett told ESPNNewYork.com via email Friday afternoon.

Maybe that changes now that GM Glen Sather has locked up Girardi long term and can devote his full attention to Callahan, but the gap seems much more difficult to bridge with the latter.

Girardi received a deal in line with what he was asking: six years, $33 million (with a full no-move clause in the first three years and a modified no-trade clause in the final three years), but there is a significant divide in what Callahan is reportedly seeking (seven years with an annual average value upward of $7 million) and what the Rangers have reportedly offered (five years, $30 million).

The Rangers and Callahan’s camp have less than five days to forge a deal, and Sather is expected to shop him aggressively if the impasse continues.

Prior to the Olympic break Callahan was one of the most buzz-worthy names on the trade market, joining other top rental players like Thomas Vanek and goaltender Ryan Miller, but the landscape has shifted a bit in light of some interesting developments during the past week.

A report surfaced last week that veteran Lightning captain Martin St. Louis requested a trade after his initial Olympic snub last month and the Rangers are believed to have interest in the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner, with one report even suggesting that the Blueshirts are the only team to which St. Louis will waive his no-move clause.

In other news, Canucks forward Ryan Kesler is reportedly seeking out of Vancouver. If true, the talented two-way center could be the most coveted player next Wednesday.

One other factor to consider with Callahan in light of the Girardi news: The two players, who have played together since their junior days in Guelph, Ontario, are also very good friends and their families are close.

Could Girardi staying put sway Callahan to stay as well?

We’ll see. Should be an interesting five days ahead.

Update: Dan Girardi, Rangers still talking

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
12:49
PM ET
NEW YORK -- While the negotiations between Ryan Callahan and the New York Rangers are at a stalemate, making it appear increasingly likely that the 28-year-old captain may be traded, there has at least been consistent communication between the club and Dan Girardi's camp on forging a new agreement for the pending unrestricted free agent.

The Rangers and Girardi’s camp have been in discussions over the past week and a half, Girardi’s agent confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com Thursday afternoon, and the lines of communication remain open.

Though Meehan said it is “still too early to tell” whether the two sides can bridge the gap on an extension for the 29-year-old defenseman before next week’s March 5 trade deadline, he remains optimistic with the two sides still talking.

Girardi is reportedly seeking a six-year deal worth $5.5 million, which is considered a pretty sound market-value deal. It is not believed the two sides are significantly far apart, though Girardi could be one of the most attractive rental players on the market and fetch an enticing return for the Blueshirts if they decide to move him.

This trade deadline is already proving to be full of intrigue and plot twists with the Callahan saga taking yet another turn amid reports that GM Glen Sather is interested in a captain-swap with Tampa Bay that would bring veteran Martin St. Louis to New York.

St. Louis addressed the reports that he asked for a trade out of Tampa Bay Wednesday, when he confirmed to meeting with GM Steve Yzerman but declined to elaborate further. And in another surprising development, news broke Wednesday night that Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler has asked out of Vancouver, though his agent denies that report.

Sather will have some interesting decisions to make in the week ahead, though he seems committed to dealing either Callahan, Girardi -- or both -- if he cannot get them under contract before the deadline, rather than seeing them walk as free agents for nothing come July.

Lots of moving parts at play. Stay tuned ...

W2W4: Rangers vs. Blackhawks

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
12:02
PM ET
At a glance: The New York Rangers pick back up following the two-week Olympic break with a tough task in their return to Madison Square Garden, where they will host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhwaks on Thursday. With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the Rangers are in good shape for the playoffs as they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Philadelphia Flyers, who play the San Jose Sharks Thursday, aren’t far behind though. The Flyers trail the Rangers by only one point heading into Thursday’s action with the two bitter rivals set to clash this weekend in Philly. Meanwhile, the Hawks are slugging it out with the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division title with the two clubs tied with 84 points.


Trade talk: With less than a week to go before the March 5 trade deadline, rumors and speculation are ramping up. Of course, the fodder includes Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Callahan’s camp and the Rangers remain at an impasse on a contract extension for the 28-year-old winger, making it appear increasingly likely that he gets dealt before next Wednesday. Recent reports have linked the Rangers to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis, who reportedly requested a trade to New York prior to the Olympic break. Defenseman Dan Girardi is also a pending UFA and could be on the move.

Waiting game: Defenseman Marc Staal, who has been battling back spasms, will be a game-time decision. Staal participated in the team’s morning skate and is expected to play unless he suffers a setback.

Give Hank a break: Given Henrik Lundqvist’s busy schedule in Sochi -- he led Team Sweden to the gold-medal game though the Swedes lost to Canada -- backup netminder Cam Talbot gets the start vs. the Hawks Thursday night. According to coach Alain Vigneault, Lundqvist will be back in net starting Saturday in Philadelphia.

Not just yet: Derek Dorsett, who has been sidelined with a broken leg since January, will not make his return Thursday despite having practiced with the team on Wednesday. He’ll have to wait a few more days before Vigneault re-inserts him into the lineup. Recently-recalled J.T. Miller will play on a line with Benoit Pouliot and Derick Brassard with Mats Zuccarello sidelined with a hand injury.

St. Louis addresses trade talk

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
3:20
PM ET
GREENBURGH, N.Y -- Rangers forward Ryan Callahan isn't the only captain fielding questions about his future in the week leading up to the NHL's trade deadline on March 5.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis returned home from Sochi, Russia with little time to revel in Team Canada's gold medal-winning performance in the 2014 Olympic games. Instead St. Louis was asked to address the rampant rumors that he had requested a trade from Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman after he was initially left off Team Canada's roster Yzerman, who also constructed the Canadian national team, later added the 38-year-old veteran forward as an injury replacement for Steven Stamkos.

In short: St. Louis did not deny it.

"I've had talks with Steve about my future with the team and I'll leave it at that," St. Louis told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Why is this relevant in New York? According to the New York Post, Rangers general manager Glen Sather called Yzerman to inquire about St. Louis' availability, though Yzerman did not seem to reciprocate interest in a deal involving the Art Ross Trophy winner for a rental player in Ryan Callahan, who is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Rangers and Callahan's camp remain at an impasse in a contract extension for the 28-year-old winger.

A league source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that St. Louis was unhappy after the initial snub by Yzerman, though it is not immediately known if the damage has since been repaired. St. Louis does have a no-move clause in his contract, though it is believed that New York would be an appealing destination to him since he has a home in Connecticut and trains there during the off-season.

Though it does not appear anything is imminent on the trade front, the situation in Tampa is one to monitor closely as the deadline nears.

• • •


Defenseman Marc Staal, who has been hampered recently by back spasms, said he felt better on the ice during practice Wednesday. Assuming he feels the same Thursday morning and experiences no setback or tightness, he expects to be in the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

• • •
Derek Dorsett (leg) took part in a full team practice Wednesday, though Alain Vigneault said he plans on holding the gritty forward out until the team's back-to-back set this weekend.

• • •


With starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist one of seven players returning from the Olympics, backup netminder Cam Talbot will get the start Thursday vs. the Hawks. Lundqvist will be back in goal Saturday against the Flyers.

No progress on Callahan deal

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
10:25
AM ET
NEW YORK -- With one week remaining until the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline, there has been no progress toward a contract extension for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan.

In fact, the two sides did not speak at all during the Olympic break, Callahan’s agent Steve Bartlett confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com when reached by phone Wednesday morning.

 

While that is not altogether surprising given Callahan played for the U.S. team and Bartlett joined his client in Sochi, Russia, for a portion of the time, it will do nothing to dampen the speculation that the pending unrestricted free agent may be traded.

Tuesday night, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that there was a "99 percent chance" that Callahan is moved.

Bartlett said he plans to touch base with the club in the next few days, which should provide a gauge of where the situation is headed.

“I haven’t talked to them since before the Olympics,” Bartlett said. “There’s really been no dialogue since I left. Either we talk this week or it’ll be pretty clear what direction they’ve decided to take.”

Bartlett said it was “a little disappointing” that there hasn’t been more dialogue, but that he understands the nature of the business.

“They are certainly within their rights to do what is best for the team,” he said. “I’m not going to speculate what they will or won’t do.”

Callahan, who turns 29 on March 21, is reportedly seeking a seven-year deal worth between $6.5 and $7 million dollars, and though Bartlett does not discuss specific numbers, he feels that Callahan’s asking price is within fair market value.

The Rangers, however, are believed to be balking at the term. That’s not surprising given Callahan’s durability issues, a function of his relentless, physical style of play.

Despite what appears to be a significant impasse and a narrow window of time to get a deal done, Callahan has repeatedly stated his intention to remain with the Rangers.

He re-affirmed that notion Wednesday after practice when asked if his desire to remain a Ranger had changed any since Olympic break:

"No. Everything is the same as it was."

Callahan declined to discuss the potential of a trade further.

Bartlett has not given up hope that something can get done

“I continue to stay upbeat and positive. Our first choice is to make a deal with the Rangers, but if it goes in the other direction, I’m not going to throw up the white flag,” Bartlett said. “I’m not saying I’m inflexible ... my job is to help [Callahan] decide what fair market value is and help him make the best decision.”

Though the Rangers granted multiple teams permission to speak with Bartlett before the Olympic break, Callahan’s camp has had no such discussions recently. It is unlikely for that to happen unless the Rangers are seriously entertaining a viable offer and a team wants to explore the possibility of locking up Callahan long term.

The Rangers also have another high-profile unrestricted free agent in defenseman Dan Girardi, who may also be dealt at the deadline if no agreement is forged on a new pact in the next week.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault admitted that it has been difficult having three of the team's premier players -- Callahan, Girardi and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist -- go through protracted contract negotiations during the season.

"Having those guys go through this has been a bit challenging," Vigneault said.

W2W4: Olympic semifinals

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
9:27
PM ET
Friday’s semifinal action features two of the best rivalries in hockey with both the U.S. and Canada and Sweden and Finland squaring off in Sochi, Russia for the chance to compete for gold. Here’s what to watch once the puck drops:

1. Scoring woes for Canada: Team Canada’s coach Mike Babcock believes his squad’s white-knuckled victory over Latvia on Wednesday might have been exactly the type of win to prepare the team for the final weekend of the tournament. But though the reigning Olympic champs enter Friday’s game with an undefeated record, they haven’t set the ice on fire despite boasting what was regarded as the deepest pool of forwards of any team in competition. The Canadians have scored only 13 goals, six of which have come from defensemen. By comparison, the U.S. has had no trouble producing with a balanced scoring attack of 20 goals in four games, with nine different forwards finding the back of the net.

N.Y. viewers: Keep an eye on Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who is expected to play on a line with fellow workhorse forwards and veteran leaders Dustin Brown and David Backes. The blue-collar trio will be an important one for the Americans.

2. Down and out: The Canadians will be without 23-year-old center John Tavares, who suffered a tournament and season-ending knee injury in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win against Latvia. Following a hard hit into the boards during the second period, Tavares hobbled off the ice with what was later revealed to be a torn meniscus and torn MCL in his left knee. Tavares will remain with the team until the end of the tournament rather than return to New York, where he will be re-evaluated and it will be determined whether he’ll undergo surgery. Luckily for the Canadians, they have no shortage of depth at forward. With Tavares out, Matt Duchene is slated to draw into the lineup, moving to his natural center position between Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp in what comprises Canada’s fourth line. Though Tavares has been a force for the Islanders this season -- he is also third in the NHL in scoring with 66 points -- he was held without a goal in the first four games of his Olympics debut.

3. Pesky Finns: After an emotion win to bounce host country Russia from the tournament in the quarterfinal Wednesday, the Finns may be the sleeper team to watch among the final four teams. Even without their top four centers in Mikko and Saku Koivu, Valtteri Fillpula and Sasha Barkov, the Finns bounced the Russians on home ice with a sound, structured, hard-working game. They frustrated the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, and may do so against a highly-touted Swedish squad as well. The Swedes are not without their fare share of injuries, either. Sweden is missing some of its brightest stars as well with captain Henrik Zetterberg bowing out with a back injury and without Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen.

4. Battle in nets: In a reprise of a stellar goaltending duel in last spring’s Eastern Conference semifinal, two of the game’s elite netminders will go head-to-head with 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist of Sweden and Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask of Finland attempting to backtop their respective squads to the gold-medal game. Lundqvist has been spectacular with a 1.25 goals against average and .949 save percentage, but Rask has also been steady with a 2.30 goals against average and .918 save percentage.

5. Revenge factor: The U.S. needs no extra motivation to knock off their rivals to the North. Not only could they exact some revenge for their female counterparts -- who blew a 2-0 lead in the final minutes of gold-medal game to surrender a heart-breaking 3-2 sudden-death loss to Canada on Thursday -- but they still have 2010 fresh in their minds. The U.S. finished with a silver medal after Sidney Crosby’s overtime game-winner in the championship game in Vancouver.

Tri-staters competing on U.S. hockey team

February, 8, 2014
Feb 8
4:09
PM ET
With the opening ceremony for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia kicking off on Friday, here is a list of the Tri-state area men's hockey players who will compete for the United States:

Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.) The Los Angeles Kings captain, who won a Stanley Cup Championship in 2012, will be called upon as one of the members of the U.S. team’s leadership group. He is one of four players returning from the 2010 Olympic squad.

Ryan Callahan (Rochester, N.Y.) The 28-year-old winger and captain of the New York Rangers will make his second Olympic appearance. He was a member of the silver medal-winning squad in Vancouver in 2010.

John Carlson (Colonia, N.J.) One of the youngest members of the U.S. team, Carlson was a member of the U.S. team that won gold in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. The 24-year-old Washington Capitals defenseman scored the overtime game winner to best Canada in the gold-medal game.

Jimmy Howard (Ogdensburg, N.Y.) The Detroit Red Wings netminder will likely be third on the goaltending depth chart for the U.S. team behind both Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick.

Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) One of the Americans’ most dynamic weapons on offense, Kane has already proven he’s a winner. He’s got two Stanley Cup Championships to his name and won the Conn Smythe Trophy last spring for his MVP performance in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brooks Orpik (Amherst, N.Y.) The veteran defenseman is one of two blueliners from the Pittsburgh Penguins to compete for the U.S. team in Sochi. He’ll play alongside Paul Martin on a team led by his Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.

Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn.) Pacioretty was far from a lock to earn a roster spot on this year’s squad but an impressive start to the 2013-14 season for the Montreal Canadiens helped his cause. He is second in scoring with 26 goals and 37 points in 49 games for the Habs this season.

Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y.) Shattenkirk is expected to be one of the key players on the back end for the U.S. team, and he may be headed for a long stretch of hockey even after the Games are over. His St. Louis Blues squad is battling the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the Central Division.

James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) The 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger has played alongside offensive dynamo Phil Kessel this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two hope to put that chemistry to good use for the U.S. in Sochi.

Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn.) The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and brother-in-law to former Islander Matt Moulson, will battle Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller for the top goaltending position.

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