PHILADELPHIA - The long-time Rangers teammates sat at opposite ends of the visitors' locker room Saturday afternoon after a frustrating 4-2 loss to the Flyers. Defenseman Dan Girardi and captain Ryan Callahan said the defeat, replete with missed opportunities, stung.
Girardi, less than 24 hours after agreeing to a six-year, $33-million contract extension and ensuring he'll remain on Broadway, played his typical rugged game. He had 24:40 of ice time (second to Ryan McDonagh's 25:03), blocked six shots, delivered five hits, took three shots and had three other attempts blocked.
Callahan had five shots on goaltender Steve Mason but didn't cash in. He hopes to do so off the ice in the next few days, before Wednesday's trade deadline and a possible move to parts unknown.
In his pregame briefing, coach Alain Vigneault said Girardi's signing "was very positive" and that he is "very confident" that a deal can be reached to extend Callahan.
"Ryan's the captain of this team; you guys all know what he brings to this team on a daily basis," he said. "So Dan got done, I've always said I'm optimistic and positive, and I'm positive and optimistic that this is going to get done . . . I hope. If I were a betting man, I'd bet it's going to get done."
But nothing appeared imminent with Callahan. When his agent, Steve Bartlett, was told about Vigneault's remarks, he said, "It's news to me."
When Girardi was asked if his decision will influence Callahan, who faces some of the same issues -- he's lived in New York since 2004 and now has a wife and young child -- the defenseman, initially signed in 2006, said: "We don't talk too much about that stuff because at the end of the day, you're your own person. I'm done; hopefully they figure it out . . . I think you want to keep your captain."
"I have no idea of what our cap situation is. So I'm letting him deal with it. In the next three or four days, we'll see what happens."
Girardi, who had talked things over with his family, said, "It's a lot of thinking to do. It's not just 'come on the ice'; it's away from the rink, where are you going to live . . . there's just so much stuff that goes on in your head, and at the end of the day, when I knew I wanted to be a Ranger, both sides hammered it out pretty quickly."
The Ontario native sensed Thursday that "things were getting closer; it was getting down to that time where both sides had to make a decision. I'm just glad it's done, just glad to be a Ranger and hoping to end my career here."
Callahan and Bartlett have been seeking a seven-year deal reportedly worth close to $7 million per season; Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather has been holding steady at $6 million per season for five years. If there is middle ground, as was the case with Girardi, it will have to be found quickly.