Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan were the duo that made the Rangers offense go last season, and presumably will be so in 2011-12 as well. Granted they have two all-stars in Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards to give them some support now, but even so, "Duballahan" will remain the vital organ of this hockey team's offense. Neither Dubinsky nor Callahan are elite talents like Gabby and Richie, but combined they form an elite talent and I think both of them are aware of this.
Dubi hit the nail on the head when talking about his chemistry with linemate Ryan Callahan to Newsday last week:
"We know each other; If I dump the puck in he's going to go get it, if he dumps the puck in, he knows I'm gonna go get it. There's no question of where the other guy's going to be. We're battling together, I don't think either of us is one of the elite talents in the league, I hope he doesn't get mad at me that I said that, but if we work hard, the talent we have comes out."
Callahan won't get mad at Dubinsky for saying that because Cally himself has previously stated the exact same thing in the past. I think part of what makes Dubinsky and Callahan so effective is their honesty, which was displayed in the statement above. They don't make excuses, they don't stretch the truth and they most certainly are not about themselves. They don't overvalue themselves either, and both have made that clear.
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We're not looking at a Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin or a Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby combo here. Dubinsky and Callahan are far from the skill level of any of those four players. On the ice, though, Dubi and Cally work harder than those four combined. They battle in the corners, they kill penalties and sacrifice their bodies more often than any of them. In this way they make up for the average skill with an extra boost in the effort department, and together they bring the effectiveness of a Crosby or Malkin to the lineup.
You can argue that the chemistry between Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik will be more crucial to the Rangers success this season than that of Dubinsky and Callahan, but I still don't believe the consistency between the two pairings will be the same. Dubinsky and Callahan bring the same effort to every single game. There is no arguing that because it's 100-percent true. Gaborik, on the other hand, has some nights where he is completely invisible and you forget that he is even on the team. That is never the case with Duballahan. Sure, they have their off nights here and there, but they are still banging bodies and working their rears off nonetheless.
As I always do with intense debates such as this one, I will leave it up to the readers. In the poll below, let us know which combo you think is more important to the Rangers success this season... (note: I am fully aware that both will contribute to the success of the team, but just play along and vote for who you think will be of more importance.)