Dolan: Callahan price too high for N.Y.

Updated: March 19, 2014, 12:16 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Rangers team owner James Dolan shed more light into the historic deal that sent captain Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay in exchange for Lightning captain Martin St. Louis on trade deadline day March 5.

Dolan, making a rare media appearance on ESPN Radio's "The Michael Kay Show" on Tuesday afternoon, said that Callahan's price tag ultimately became too prohibitive for the Rangers' long-term plans.

The club and its captain were locked in a protracted contract negotiation this season, and though the two sides narrowed the gap to "spitting distance" in the final hours leading up to the deadline, the Rangers parted ways with the heart-and-soul Blueshirt. Instead, they acquired the 38-year-old defending Art Ross Trophy winner St. Louis.

"I think Ryan, essentially, was asking too much for his services and was going to hamstring the team," Dolan said during a media tour following the New York Knicks' announcement of Phil Jackson. "With that, I think [general manager Glen Sather] did the right thing."

Dolan gave Sather his vote of confidence and seemed optimistic about the team's playoff hopes, despite some recent road bumps. The Rangers enter Tuesday's action holding onto the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I anticipate we will make the playoffs, but it's tight right now," Dolan said. "I'm a little concerned about it, but I have a lot of confidence in this team."

Dolan said the club played "magnificently" in their most recent loss -- a 1-0 shutout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday in which they were stifled despite 41 shots on goals.

Dolan thinks if they stay the course, they will be just fine.

"If they continue to play like that, they'll win the lion's share of games," he said.

And though Dolan admitted to having a "special relationship" with fiery coach John Tortorella, who he claimed would kick him out of his office at times, he is a fan of the new guy as well.

"Alain [Vigneault] has proven himself to be a very, very confident coach. I have to admit that in the beginning I was a little concerned, but we knew it would take some time to adjust to his style of play," Dolan said. "I think they're playing very well."

The Rangers take on the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night in the first of a three-game road trip.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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