Ryan Callahan spoke to the media earlier today after officially being named the 26th captain in New York Rangers team history by coach John Tortorella. Here are some of his comments, courtesy of Andrew Gross over at Rangers Rants.
“Obviously it’s a privilege and an honor to be able to wear a C on a team but I’m going to approach the same as wearing an A, the things I do on the ice and off the ice, there’s a reason why I feel I got the A,” Callahan said. “I’ll continue on with the C. Obviously there comes a little bit more leadership role with it and some more responsibility at the same time I have to do what I do and not the letter on my sweater affect my game or how I approach the game.”
“I’m the kind of guy who tries to go about my business and not try to think about things like that or things out of my control,” Callahan said. “Through my career guys like Dru, even when I first got here, Jagr, I look up to them, watch them, see how they act on and off the ice, especially Drury, I think he’s a big part of the player I’ve become and the reason why am I leader today."
Callahan kept going back to what he’s learned from Drury.
“The way he approached the game and the way he was so professional on and off the ice, the way he carried himself, he never got too high, never got too low, he was always in the room at kind of even keel,” Callahan said. “At times if he needed to be emotional with the team he would be but he approached the game the same way every night.”
As for his leadership style, Callahan said it’s a combination of leading by example, and speaking (loudly) when needed.
“On ice I try to lead by example, I try to play the identity we created last year, have guys follow that way,” Callahan said. “But at the same time, in the room, I think if I need to be vocal I can be. The biggest thing is to continue to do what I do and hopefully guys follow.
“I don’t mind it at all,” Callahan said of being vocal. “It’s not something I’m uncomfortable with. If something needs to be said, it will be.”
Read more comments from Callahan, John Tortorella and Brad Richards below.
Interesting that Callahan specifically went out of his way to praise Chris Drury and Jaromir Jagr, both of whom have received criticism for the types of captains they were here in New York.
John Tortorella said the fact that Callahan has come up through the Rangers' system and is a homegrown talent played an important role in his decision of naming Cally captain. As Rangers fans know by now, Callahan is the type of player that embodies everything John Tortorella wants his team to stand for with his gritty, hard-nosed style of play.
“To be captain of the New York Rangers is a cool thing, an Original Six team,” said Tortorella, who informed Callahan of his decision on Friday. “He fits it.”
In fact, Tortorella was talking about the identity the Rangers established last season a hard-working, blue-collar bunch. “Straight ahead” and “no nonsense” the coach said, before stopping himself and asking, “Who am I talking about? The hockey club or Cally?”
John Tortorella also said that the coaching staff never really considered removing the "A" from Marc Staal's jersey, which doesn't really surprise me. Torts had a chance to take the role of alternate captain away from Staal last season after Vinny Prospal came back from his knee injury and he chose to leave it on Staal because he obviously felt like Staal had earned the right to wear it. Torts said he wanted to give the letters to Callahan, Staal and Brad Richards because it provided the right mix of leadership, which certaianly makes sense to me. You have a proven veteran winner in Brad Richards, the clear leader of the team in Ryan Callahan and the anchor of the New York Rangers' defense for years and years to come in Marc Staal.
Brad Richards said that while it's an honor to have been chosen as an alternate captain, his leadership role would've been the same no matter whether or not he was given a letter.
"It's very easy to have (Callahan) as your leader. You just see the way he plays," Richards said. "And I'm just getting to know him, but I've been told what kind of guy he is. And Marc (Staal) is a great guy, too. I have been getting to hang out a lot with him. He's a really good guy, and another warrior just like Cally. They are the young core, and will be here a long time. I'm just here to help them out."
"I'm still going to do what I need to do to help the team, whether I have a letter or not...I'm not going to hide in the corner."