In the new John Tortorella era, the Rangers are now attacking the puck carrier and playing aggressive hockey. This has led to more offensive chances, and more scoring. We have seen better play from the likes of Gomez, Drury and Zherdev. Newcomer Nik Antropov has been great, and Sean Avery has been great too in his return to Broadway.
All this is nothing compared to the leaps and bounds made by Ryan Callahan since Torts’ arrival. The Rangers’ 4th round pick in 2004 NHL draft, has been one of the best players on the ice for the Blueshirts since Torts’ arrival. In the 14 games since the coaching change, Callahan has put up 6-4-10. This has propelled him into a career season, just one goal short of 20 on the season, and 33 points so far (19-14-33). His highest goal total prior to this? Eight. He has doubled his career high goal total, and may even triple it by the time this season ends. His play has impressed Torts, and Callahan is now seeing first line minutes, and has been for a few games now.
But what’s so special about 10 points in 14 games, you might ask? Well, it’s also the little things that Callahan is doing that makes him that much more dynamic. He kills penalties, and does a fantastic job with it. He hits people, leading the team with 242 hits, which is 4th in the NHL. He is fast, and he never takes a shift off. He is turning into a very special hockey player, and we are watching the transformation with each game.
Can Callahan keep this up? Torts expects it, as he is seeing first line time, power play time, and penalty kill time. Callahan plays the game the way it should be played: Balls to the wall intensity with every shift. He has speed, skill and determination. We will be seeing much more of Ryan Callahan, hopefully flanking Scott Gomez and Sean Avery (wow has that line been amazing), for many seasons to come.