Ryan Callahan has already resumed skating after his emergency appendectomy surgery on Monday. If he is healthy enough to play, he’ll be going up against the team he used to captain, the New York Rangers, in the Eastern Conference Final.
“It’s going to be a lot of emotions actually going back there for a playoff game, and I’m excited,” Callahan said, per Ottawa Sun. Not that he thinks the Eastern Conference Final could get much bigger regardless of the opponent. At the end of the day this is about fighting to reach the Stanley Cup Final and he would be pumped to face any adversary to get there.
Indeed, Lightning coach Jon Cooper thinks that the rematch between Callahan and former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis, who was moved in the same March 2014 trade, “will mean more externally than it does internally.” Although he can’t help but be one of the many people that’s intrigued by the storyline.
“How often do two captains get traded for each other?” Cooper asked. “And then are going to end up going against each other in the Eastern Conference final? You can’t make that stuff up. It’s a pretty appealing story. So I’m actually interested to see how it’s going to turn out.”
It will be interesting to see if either of them end up being a significant factor offensively in this series. Although Callahan has helped Tampa Bay get this far, he’s also been limited to three assists in 12 playoff contests. St. Louis has just four assists in 12 postseason games.
Either one of them has the potential to tip the scale against their former squad.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Joe Barajas turned someone’s hair into a portrait of Rangers forward Chris Kreider (h/t Puck Daddy):
Stars captain Jamie Benn has decided to stay in North Texas rather than return to Victoria, British Columbia for the summer so that he can make sure his recovery from two hip surgeries goes according to plan. (Dallas Morning News)
The latest Stanley Cup odds, courtesy online bookmaker Bovada:
New York Rangers — 2/1
Chicago Blackhawks — 11/5
Anaheim Ducks — 12/5
Tampa Bay Lightning — 19/4
Now, there’s always some smart guy who mentions it in the comments section, so we might as well beat him to the punch:
No, the odds aren’t always exactly what the oddsmakers believe to be 100-percent true. In this case, there’s possibly been a slight adjustment based on the size of New York’s fan base compared to, say, Tampa Bay’s. Generally, people like to bet on their favorite teams, and an Original Six team like the Rangers, in a big city like New York, has a lot of fans.
Then again, maybe Tampa Bay’s the long shot of the four because the oddsmakers just don’t think the Lightning have been very good in the playoffs. (Which they really haven’t been.)
Anyway, here are the Conn Smythe Trophy favorites:
Henrik Lundqvist — 4/1
Patrick Kane — 17/2
Corey Perry — 9/1
Jonathan Toews — 19/2