Thursday, March 1, 2012

Callahan out tonight versus Canes

Henrik Lundqvist isn't the only one who won't be playing against the Hurricanes tonight. While John Tortorella opts to rest the Vezina frontrunner, the Rangers will also be without the services of their captain when they face off in Raleigh. Ryan Callahan is nursing a bruised foot and will not suit up.

Our guess is it's probably from the physical match the Blueshirts prevailed in over the Devils on Monday. Their emotional leader led by example, sacrificing body and spirit for the good of the team. No player better exemplifies why this team leads the East by seven points over Pittsburgh. Callahan's first year as captain has been a rousing success. The 26-year old Rochester native already has established a new high in goals (25) while ranking second behind Marian Gaborik for the team lead in points (47). His 11 power play goals pace the club and seven game-deciders are tied with Brad Richards for tops.

As usual, Callahan is also among the league leaders in hits with 222, which ranks third overall behind Dustin Brown (225) and Islander human freight train Matt Martin (295). Captain Cally also is tied for third among all forwards with 67 blocked shots. It's that kind of rambunctious style that's made him one of the Rangers' most popular players. New Yorkers appreciate his gritty style. A former fourth round pick who's the classic overachiever, Callahan needs two points for a new personal best and is on target for his first 30-goal, 50-point campaign.

With Callahan sidelined, newly acquired John Scott will make his Ranger debut on the fourth line. Inexplicably, Brandon Dubinsky remains on the third line with Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust while Ruslan Fedotenko takes Cally's place alongside Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin. It really is mystifying how John Tortorella refuses to give Dubinsky a chance to get his offense in gear. He's badly needed the rest of the way, particularly in the playoffs. This is a perfect opportunity. Hopefully, Dubinsky will get some shifts on the second line and see increased power play duty.

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