Ryan Callahan has heard nothing but trade rumor talk the past couple days. Tonight he played like a guy who had a little extra motivation.
Callahan scored two first-period goals and added an assist on Brad Richards’ third period goal to give the New York Rangers a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to help keep some of his own critics quiet as well.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Rangers and after the rumor-filled time Callahan has had of late, his performance won’t do anything to cool off the narratives. After all, you could say his big game came at a time when he’s trying to help make the case for a huge extension or to help grease the wheels for a blockbuster trade ahead of the Olympic roster freeze.
Regardless of all that, it should help make the talk surrounding him before the Olympics only get that much louder.
The New Jersey Devils have other problems to go along with their inability to close out games of late. Jaromir Jagr is a little grumpy.
Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports Jagr isn’t too happy about being taken off a line with center Travis Zajac and he makes his feelings very apparent.
“It doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t want to talk about it either,” said Jagr. “I don’t really (care) either.”
Uh, sure thing Jags.
Jagr was put on a line with Andrei Loktionov at the latest practice. As for coach Peter DeBoer, he said he was a bit reluctant to break up the line knowing that the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer likes to stay consistent with who he works with. He added that wanted more goals and consistency from them.
Jagr opted to go fully sarcastic saying, “That makes sense. Me and Travis, we don’t score many.”
DeBoer has gotten his share of grief from Devils veterans this season as Martin Brodeur hasn’t been happy about his lack of playing time this season. At the very least, DeBoer can tell his grandchildren he found ways to upset two legends in the same season.
Confidence is usually a great thing to have. Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter has plenty of that going for him and he believes in his Switzerland team as they head into the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Niederreiter tells Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press he’s excited for his team at this year’s Olympics and believes they’ve got a chance to do well.
“I think we have a great team, actually,” said Niederreiter. “We have a lot of strong defensemen and two great goalies. It definitely helps our confidence, and the experience, there’s going to be nothing like it.”
The goalies he’s referring to are Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks and Reto Berra of the Calgary Flames. Add in former Dallas Stars goalie Tobias Stephan and that’s a solid trio. With Roman Josi, Mark Streit, Raphael Diaz, and Yannick Weber on defense, maybe Niederreiter has a point.
Also going for the Swiss is their success at the 2013 World Championships. There, Switzerland made it to the gold medal game before losing to Sweden.
It won’t be easy in the opening round for Switzerland as they’ll have Sweden, Latvia, and the Czech Republic in their group for the round-robin. Add in Switzerland’s previous success at international tournaments and they won’t be flying under anyone’s radar now.