NEW YORK – Ryan Callahan was named the 26th captain in New York Rangers history today in a late-morning announcement on the team’s official website.
Callahan, who was the favorite to land the spot when Chris Drury was bought out in late June, will be joined by alternate captains Marc Staal and newcomer Brad Richards.
“Ryan Callahan embodies all the leadership qualities we seek from our Captain,” said Rangers GM Glen Sather in a press release. “He leads by example with courage and tireless work ethic on and off the ice, which is why he is so deserving of this honor.”
“We’re a straight-ahead team, a hard-working hockey club, no nonsense — who am I talking about? The hockey club or Cally?,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella told reporters at the Rangers’ practice facility in Tarrytown. “That’s just the way he is.”
The new Rangers captain set career highs last season with 23 goals, 25 assists and 48 points while playing in only 60 games due to injury. He broke his ankle diving to block a shot late in the Rangers’ critical win over Boston on April 4, ending his season but helping to propel the Rangers into the playoffs.
“I talked to [Tortorella] and he said, ‘I don’t expect anything different, I expect you to do what you do,’” Callahan said, adding he served as captain his last two years in junior hockey. “Obviously there’s a little bit more responsibility but he said, ‘You’re captain for a reason and continue to lead the way you do and play the way you do.’”
Tortorella praised Callahan’s work ethic last season, calling him one of the hardest-working players on the team. The choice to make Callahan captain is an obvious one – his style of play, including a propensity to block shots, have made him one of the Rangers’ most beloved players.
“To be captain of the New York Rangers is a cool thing — an Original Six team,” Tortorella said. “He fits it.”
Staal, who returns for his second season as alternate captain, will share those duties with Richards, who has experience serving in a leadership position while playing for both Tampa Bay and Dallas.
“I talked to [Richards] little bit, obviously he seems like a tremendous guy,” Callahan told reporters in Tarrytown. “He’s a winner. There are things I need to learn from him too. He’s won a Stanley Cup and he’s been through it. I think we’re all going to work together. There are guys in this room who don’t have letters who are leaders too. I’m going to lean on them, they’re going to lean on me. It’s going to be a fun ride.”
With reporting from the Bergen Record and Newsday.