Callahan says rehab could ‘dip into regular season’


Rangers captain Ryan Callahan separated his shoulder “eight or nine times” last season, according to general manager Glen Sather,

The solution, not surprisingly, was surgery in May to repair a torn labrum. (Ditto for Callahan’s jitterbugging teammate, Carl Hagelin.)

Per, it’s unlikely Callahan will be 100 percent by the time training camp starts. Or even possibly before the season starts.

“As the schedule goes, it’s going to dip into training camp and it’s possible it could dip into the regular season, too,” Callahan said. “The biggest thing with this is the contact. I should be able to be fully skating and shooting in training camp, but it’s when you can take contact and I don’t think you know that until you get further on and they evaluate it and check it out. As of now, how the rehab is going, I’m right on schedule.”

In a related story, the injuries to Callahan and Hagelin could have an effect on the team’s negotiations with restricted free agent Derek Stepan.

From the New York Post’s Larry Brooks (July 17):

There is no progress regarding talks with Derek Stepan, sources report. Stepan, the club’s first-line center, is a Group II free agent without arbitration rights. Absent pressure points (or an unexpected offer sheet), negotiations with Stepan could well go into September and perhaps bleed into training camp.

The Rangers will likely need to carry 15 forwards on their opening roster because of the post-labrum surgery rehab that will sideline both Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin for the first few weeks of the year — but not for enough time to qualify for long-term exemption — and the need to have a healthy spare available on the opening trip.

With 24 players under contract, the Rangers have around $2 million in cap space, according to CapGeek,

As we noted in the post about Mats Zuccarello agreeing to a one-year deal, if Stepan signs a so-called “bridge” contract, the Rangers should be fine. If it’s a longer-term deal with a higher cap hit, a roster adjustment — even if it’s just a minor one — may be required.

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
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The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”