There’s only one Captain, someone told me. Actually, many have told me that.
But Mark Messier, as celebrated as he is within New York Ranger culture, is and was a mercenary. I know we hate to think of him that way but truth is, he was celebrated and a champion well before he ever came to the Rangers.
I don’t want to take anything away from what Messier brought to the Rangers those years, especially in 1994. I don’t think the Rangers win a goddamn thing without him. The Rangers were a storied franchise before he came to the team, yet he brought a certain something that brought them to the next level.
But for the love of Emile Francis, Ryan Callahan needs to have his Mark Messier moment. And he needed it yesterday.
On my pre-playoff podcast, I discussed with Kevin DeLury from NYRBlogs and Nick Montemagno from Ranger Tribune, that I expected a big series from Captain Cally.
It’s going to take a lot for Ranger fans to accept someone into that cherished Captain fold. It certainly wasn’t Kelly Kisio nor Chris Drury. As beloved as he is, Brian Leetch was never fully accepted into the captain mold. Leetch unfortunately had big shoes to fill. Because he was on the storied ’93-’94 run, it was almost like more was expected of him. Leetch = great player, not a captain.
Callahan is the heart and soul of this team. We point to how blue collar and the hard work ethic that he and John Tortorella have brought to this team. While mercenaries like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards are supposed to add to the goal scoring capabilities of the team, we point to Henrik Lundqvist and his intensity, to guys like Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust for being young upstarts. But Callahan is Mr. Ranger, the guy you look to in these times, when the team heads back to Ottawa for a one game playoff and hope to get that one more win to have home ice that one last time. The reason, you know, for game sevens to exist.
I can’t say it’s happening.
So in the first round, I’m wondering if Cally will have to break out a page from the Book of Messier, where he said, “We will win tonight.”
Is that too dramatic? It may be. After all, some people may be happy with the way the season went and take the playoffs as rationalizing that whole “it’s about who gets hottest at the right time,” that the Rangers have laid the foundation for years to come and blah blah blah.
That’s just fucking bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.
I want all that but I want them to fucking grab the bull by the balls and kick the Senators’ ass all the way. They should have by now. They are not.
I’m saying that anything less than an Eastern Conference final visit is a failure for this season. They have the goods to do it. They just need to see Lundqvist can’t do it all on his own.
That means it’s time for Captain Callahan to wake the fuck up and slap these fuckers into reality.
It’s down to two games now. Let’s do it already.