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Reaction from U.S. Olympians Callahan, Drury


             When Team USA general manager Brian Burke interrupted Ryan Callahan’s breakfast today with a phone call, the Rangers right winger didn’t mind one bit.

              “He said, ‘We thought you had a good first half of the season and can help the Olympic team,” said Callahan, a 24-year old Rochester native who was chosen as a Rangers alternate captain in his fourth season and has 19 points, including five goals and six assists in the last 13 games. “To say I was excited is putting it mildly.”

                The meal was quickly forgotten. The first call was to his parents back home, Callahan said, “to tell them they’d be making a trip to Vancouver.”

               Callahan, who will play in his first Winter Games, and Rangers captain Chris Drury, who skated for the U.S. in 2002 and 2006, were among the 23 players chosen to represent the U.S. in the Winter Games in February.

                “It’s been a great week,” said Drury, whose wife, Rory, gave birth to their third child and second daughter, Kelly, on Tuesday night. As for the Games, “just based on age, it’s three different circumstances,” said Drury, 33, who was one of the youngest players in Salt Lake City in 2002, in the middle in 2006, when the team won a silver medal, and now, “when I’ll be one of the oldest.”

                He’ll certainly know what to expect, “You basically get off the plane and be ready to play,” said Drury who missed five games with a concussion sustained on Nov. 7, and has just five goals and nine assists, but excels on faceoffs and penalty-killing. “And I remember coming back and playing better just having been there with all those world-class players.”

                That’s what he expects will happen with Callahan. “We’re all thrilled for him. What he does, night in and night out, first PK, first PP, hits everything, blocks shots, just an all-around player, and this will just raise his game.”

               Callahan. who scored 22 goals and 40 points last season and ranked fourth in the NHL with 265 hits, recalled watching on television “with a lot of energy and pride” in 2006 and later talking to another Rochester native, then-Devil Brian Gionta, about his experiences and all the fun he had.” This February, though, Callahan said, “ I couldn’t have picked a better person to go with than Dru. He’s been a mentor for me.”

                Drury, in his 11th NHL season, and Callahan, join Rangers Blueshirt teammates Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden) and Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) on Olympic rosters.


New York Sports