Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Odd day in Pittsburgh....
In his seven years in Tampa, head coach John Tortorella always had a captain and two alternates.
But he can't find a second alternate, at least not yet, in New York.
Right wing Ryan Callahan, 24, was selected by the coaching staff to wear the only 'A' (Chris Drury has the "C') as the Rangers open the season here tonight against the Penguins.
The fast-rising Callahan is a worthy choice, to be sure. A fourth round pick in the 2004 draft, he scored 22 goals and added 18 assists in 81 games last season and his career is on the upswing.
Strange, though, that Tortorella says he is waiting to see how things play out before awarding a second 'A". "Ryan Callahan has shown the capability for that role and I want to see if someone else steps up to claim that other one. Maybe, maybe not. It depends how it all unfolds."
Then, there was end of the Alexei Semenov saga.
On Wednesday, the Rangers thought that the 28-year old Semenov was signed and sealed as a No. 6 or 7 depth defenseman. Now, they’re hunting for his replacement. And it won't be former Senator Christoph Schubert, whom Atlanta just claimed on waivers. The Rangers did not put in a claim on Schubert, but may regret the loss of Semenov.
Semenov, a second-round draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers who recently played in San Jose and Florida, had called general manager Glen Sather for a training camp tryout and played well enough to earn a one-year, $600,000 contract. The team announced that the 6-foot-6 Russian had come to terms Wednesday evening and on Thursday, Semenov’s agent, Allan Walsh, posted it on Twitter.
But on Thursday, an “issue” developed, the team said, and the story turned. Yesterday, Semenov, who made the trip here with the team but watched the Penguins’ morning skate with Sather in the stands at Mellon Arena, left the team.
“He agreed, his agent agreed, but his wife didn’t,” Sather said. “He couldn’t talk his family into it. In all my years of dealing with players, I’ve never had that happen before. He was crying.”
Before Sather’s comments, Semenov, whose wife lives in Russia, told Newsday that he “would love to be here, but I don’t think it’s going to work out.” Asked if he might play in Russia’s KHL, he said, “Maybe, we’ll see.”
Tortorella, who had praised Semenov’s conditioning and enthusiasm, said he was disappointed and that the front office would be looking at the waiver wire and in Hartford for help when necessary. The WolfPack’s Corey Potter and Mike Sauer are among the possibilities, as are Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikinen.