The New York Rangers can’t catch a break.
Off to a slow start to the season, the Rangers announced Thursday that captain Ryan Callahan will miss three to four weeks with a broken thumb sustained against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
The injury occurred late in the third period, when Callahan attempted to block a shot from Capitals defenceman John Carlson.
Already without the services of Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin, head coach Alain Vigneault and the Rangers will now have to do without their leader for a month, which is unfortunate for Callahan as he missed the start of the season following shoulder surgery.
Going into Thursday’s games, the Rangers were 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 2-4-0 record through six games, and although Callahan has three goals with a minus-5 in five games, his impact goes far beyond the game sheet.
Callahan is one of the league’s best penalty killers, so his presence will be missed on a team currently ranked 19th in penalty killing at 79.2 per cent. He’s also been productive on the powerplay to start the season, as two of his three goals have come with the man advantage.
But looking beyond special teams play, Callahan is the type of player every team loves to have. He’s a tenacious competitor teams rally around, and he plays the type of 200-foot game teams need to be successful.
The Rangers have called up Darroll Powe from the Hartford Wolf Pack to take Callahan’s penalty-killing role, but they need a break to go their way to turn things around.
Having a captain with a broken thumb doesn’t help.