While Ranger fans everywhere were celebrating the incredible comeback against the Bruins last night, Ryan Callahan, our leader, was diagnosed with an ankle injury that Tortorella is now describing as "long-term". This is obviously devastating for the Rangers. In addition to Callahan's 48 points which is second on the team, we will greatly miss all of the intangibles that he brings to the table. He has unquestionably been the captain of the team this year. Although it may seem like the season is over, there is still reason to believe.
The Rangers have endured numerous injuries throughout the season, and this one is no different. We went 11-7-2 over the 20 games that Callahan missed in December and January with a broken hand. This team has shown resiliency all season long, and it would be foolish to think that they don't have the ability to overcome adversity once again. I'm not saying that this isn't a big loss, but the Rangers have proven time and time again that they have the ability to will themselves to victory with their backs against the wall.
It will certainly take a team effort to overcome the loss of Callahan. The leadership is going to have to come from other places. The obvious choice would be Brandon Dubinsky, but there are other players who can definitely step up. Vinny Prospal is someone who can use veteran experience and leadership to keep the Rangers on track. His performance last night exemplifies his ability to lead a team. Chris Drury, who may be returning shortly, and Bryan Mccabe come to mind as well.
As for a replacement on the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line, the Rangers should plug in either Avery or Gaborik. Avery's style of play is similar to Callahan's, and we all know he can be very effective when he has his head on straight. Gaborik would probably make the most sense because he is obviously a first line caliber player, and it would be extremely beneficial to the team if he got hot at this time of year. The Propsal-Stepan-WW line has played well, as has the Fedetenko-Boyle-Prust line so those would probably remain intact.
Losing Callahan is a crippling blow, but I believe we can recover. Do you?