Brad Richards Minimizes Ryan Callahan’s Leadership

Richards and Callahan at odds? (Jim McIsaac)

Richards and Callahan at odds? (Jim McIsaac)

“You sir, are NO Mark Messier!” Of course that isn’t what Brad Richards said but if you take his quotes in Larry Brooks’ article at face value, it didn’t sound good. 

Here are the key quotes:

“Off-ice, there are some issues that we have to make sure are being taken care of, but as far as the team goes, we have enough guys here who are comfortable with taking a leadership role and understand what that means.”

Ok, those comments are no big deal at all, and actually make sense. In the aftermath of trading a Captain, you know there are gaps to fill.

“Things that have to be said will still get said. I’m not taking anything away from Cally, but he was pretty young and not that vocal.”

What? Shots Fired! Oh, but Brad didn’t stop there.

“It’s not like he was 38 and had been in the league for 18 years, so everybody was looking to him to listen to what he had to say. We have other guys here who know what to say and when to say it.”

If I interpret this one correctly, he is basically saying that Ryan didn’t really speak up in the room or at the least wasn’t looked to for that. Ok Brad, you made your point, but…oh wait! There’s more?

“I don’t want to make it sound like we don’t miss him. What he did on the ice, you can’t replace. It’s just that nothing is really going to change in the way we approach things in the room.”

So just in case we misunderstood that last quote, you made sure to clarify. Sadly, the Rangers and Lightning don’t face off again this season, unless they meet in the playoffs. That will certainly be a fun reunion on ice.

I’ve always known that Ryan Callahan was a “lead by example” captain. He was actually very reminiscent of Brian Leetch, who had the unenviable task of following Mark Messier. Brian was not a vocal cheerleader in the locker room and that probably hurt the Rangers and Leetch. In my opinion, Adam Graves would have made a far better captain after Messier because he was similar to Mark in leadership.

That is not to say that Leetch was a bad captain, because many great captains were quiet leaders that led by example. Wayne Gretzky was precisely one of those captains. The problem for Callahan, both these players are hall of famers and their play spoke volumes. Everyone knows Callahan would go through a wall for his teammates, but bodychecks and blocked shots don’t go up on the scoreboard. Goals do! Sadly, Ryan Callahan was an average offensive player, so being more vocal would have probably meant more in the long-run.

No one should be upset at Brad Richards, because all he did was speak the truth. He was honest in his assessment and I applaud him for it. However, with the wounds of some Ranger fans still fresh, he could have stopped after the first quote. By not doing so, he minimized Ryan Callahan’s tenure as New York Rangers Captain.


Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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