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Rangers Missing Ryan “Captain” Callahan

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

We tried to warn you, and you just didn’t want to listen.

“But look at the business side of it!” you said.  ”They have to make the deal!”

You didn’t heed the warnings.  And now here we are.  On the brink of elimination thanks to a series of listless – almost catatonic, at times – performances prompting at least this Ranger fan to wonder who’s leading the this team.

And ask again, when no clear answer emerges from that question, why in the hell the Rangers traded Ryan Callahan.

In the three straight games the Blueshirts have lost to the beatable Penguins, they’ve lacked fight, they’ve lacked grit, and, inexcusably, they have, at times, lacked effort.  Back-checks have been non-existant; forechecks have lacked bite; refusing to battle with the Pens, they’ve been unable to get inside a defense pushing them to the outside.

The Brassard-Zuccarello-Pouliot line are the only ones winning battles along the boards, and no one has even tried to become a presence in front of the net.  The team, as a whole, has been out-hustled and out-muscled.

Even the venerable Ryan McDonagh, whom many expect to be the next Ranger Captain, hasn’t been above reproach.  The back-breaking short-handed goal the Penguins netted last night – digging deeper into the earth’s core for a new “rock bottom” for the Rangers’ 0-36 power play – was conceded thanks to, in large part, a lifeless back-check from the future Norris-trophy winner.  There’s no doubt McDonagh is playing hurt – and the team having played six games in nine days, there’s no doubt they’re playing tired as well – but in this game and in this month, injury and fatigue is no excuse.

And though there used to be someone on this team who embodied that mantra, there isn’t anymore.

And that’s the Callahan effect.  These concerns didn’t exist in any real, measurable way when Ryan Callahan was the team’s Captain.  Because when he was, there was always a great shift, or a finished check, or a fight, or a ferocious forecheck, or even a goal to defibrillate the squad and shock them back to life.

For the rest of my thoughts on Callahan and the Rangers, head to NoTicketSports.com.

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