Overshadowing the New York Rangers 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Friday were talks of Rangers captain Ryan Callahan’s possible trade if contract renewal talks do not pan out well.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported that Callahan’s agent said that they “still expect to continue to explore options with NYR but expect they will explore options in the event of an impasse.”
ESPN’s Katie Strang confirmed that the “Rangers granted permission for other teams to contact Ryan Callahan’s camp.”
When asked about a possible trade post-game, Callahan looked at the media in shock.
“That’s news to me,” he replied when he was approached about teams being able to speak to him. “My heart’s here. I want to be here. That’s all I worry about out on the ice.”
After he said that, he abruptly ended the interviews.
“With all the talk and rumors and things like that, I think you kind of get used to it,” Callahan’s teammate Brian Boyle said. “Obviously, he’s a great leader in this room and has been for a long time.
“Any time your captain’s name is thrown around in that type of situation. It’s obviously different than somebody else.”
Rangers Come Out on Top in Islanders Series
The Rangers finished their series against the Islanders in their fifth and final meeting of the season on Friday night. After winning 2-1 against the Islanders on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the Stadium Series, the Rangers finished the Islanders series 3-2-0 after the 4-1 win. Last season the Rangers finished 3-0-1 over the Islanders.
With the Islanders Kyle Okposo tying the game up in the second period after Rangers Brian Boyle scored in the first, three Rangers came in for the rescue in the final period. Derick Brassard (12:14), Brad Richards (14:59) and Ryan McDonagh (19:59, empty net) took over the scoring to deliver the final blow to the Islanders, 4-1 and come out on top in the five-game Metropolitan Division series.
“They’re a skilled team,” Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said of the Islanders. “Even though they haven’t been winning in the last week or so, they especially have tough guys. They make it very tough for us. But I thought defensively, we played really hard.”
The Rangers are currently sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division, 15 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers will have three more games before the Olympic break begins, including their final meeting against the Penguins on Friday, February 7th.
Staal Coming Up Big
In Friday’s game, Staal came out with two assists and the third star of the game in the win over the Islanders. Since returning from an injury that kept him out of the lineup for the majority of the month of December, he has been slow to get back to form.
After the first outdoor game against the New Jersey Devils, he was able to collect a goal and an assist in the 7-3 win over the Devils. As he becomes more and more confident in his game again, it’s helping his team out tremendously.
“He just gets better and better,” Lundqvist said of Staal. “I talked about him after the last game, so I guess I focused in on him a little bit more today for some reason, but he did everything right. He was outstanding. He’s so confident now with the reach. Especially after the last game when he’s on top of his game, it’s like his stick is so long because he gets to pucks and makes good plays. It’s huge for us.”
“He’s making good decisions all over the ice. He’s such a good skater.”
NOTE: New York Rangers Play-By-Play Announcer Sam Rosen celebrated his 30th anniversary covering the Rangers. He was honored prior to the game on Friday with a silver stick and tickets for a Caribbean cruise. His former color commentator, John Davidson, made the trip to New York for the special event honoring him.