Thread: Ryan Callahan
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04-01-2013, 10:51 PM
NYR Sting
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Originally Posted by smoneil View Post
You can be smarmy if you want, but if you watched the game tonight, it was pretty damned obvious that Callahan's (return to his) balls-to-the-wall style did more to create for Stepan and Nash than the other way around. Not taking anything away from the other two, but Cally's goal was all him, and his primary assist to Stepan was a pass so pretty that even Higgins couldn't have screwed up.

Callahan had a great night because of how he played--not because of who he played with.
I'm not being smarmy, the criticism doesn't make any sense to me, probably because it wasn't obvious to me. I don't think Callahan hasn't been playing "balls to the wall." He's just been playing with players who aren't doing anything offensively, and as a result, either was instructed to, or simply decided on his own (not without good reason), that he has to attempt to do more offensively. That's not when he's at his best, but it was the situation he was placed in by Tortorella (also, not totally without good reason). That seems pretty obvious to me.

He doesn't need to play with the puck as much when he plays with Stepan and Nash. Perfect example, Nash's goal. Callahan makes a tremendous play to drive to the net and divert attention to himself. I have been watching, and I've seen him do the same thing night in, night out. He just hasn't been doing it with Rick Nash streaking in behind him. He's been forced to handle the puck more often, and he's not Rick Nash either. More time with the puck on his stick means less opportunities for him to create an impact the way he does best: away from the puck.

It's not ideal for him to carry the puck, but if not him, than who? Gaborik, who shouldn't be carrying the puck through the neutral zone unless he's got a ton of time and space, which this team rarely does? Or young and inexperienced Miller, who plays hard but makes poor decisions with the puck every game? Maybe you'd prefer for Brian Boyle, of great speed and passing ability, to carry the puck. If he isn't playing with one of Stepan, Nash, or Hagelin, then he's carrying the puck a lot of the time. He hasn't spent much time with Richards, but Richards has been **** carrying the puck, anyway.

Even so, Cally made a terrific pass on Stepan's first goal, and Stepan scored. I've seen him make nice passes when playing with Gaborik, Miller, and Boyle, too. Those guys didn't score. What does that have to do with Callahan's effort level? He's actually probably a better passer and playmaker than a lot of people around here give him credit for. When playing with Stepan, he's produced at the same rate as last season, and when they are teamed with Nash, the results have been stellar.

You look around the league, and you see that most of the time, franchises CLING to players like Callahan, especially consistently successful ones. There's a reason for that. Guys like Callahan are rare, and they are extremely beneficial to have on your roster. They are more than the sum of their parts. Most players are not, and many are less. To single him out as a major issue on this team when you have two higher echelon cap hits on your team that are both playing like garbage all season long makes absolutely no sense to me. When you have Callahan playing with guys who are either struggling big time, rookies, or just not very good. When you have a bottom six full of below average scrap heap material.

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