Ryan Callahan has a lot of fans in Tampa, and in New York from his time with the Rangers, but almost certainly the oldest will be tuning into Game 5 this afternoon from Rochester.
Callahan’s grandmother, Adriana Giancursio, who turned 100 around Christmas, will be cheering her grandson on, and based on past experience, offering plenty of pointed critiques.
“She’s doing great,” Callahan said. “She knows what’s going on. She’s unbelievable.”
Hockey fans may remember Giancursio from a cameo in HBO’s 24/7’s Road to the 2011 Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and Rangers, when Callahan was a Blueshirt. There was a scene when Giancursio, in a wheelchair, met Callahan after a game.
“God bless you, honey, but you didn’t deserve that penalty,” she said with a grin. “Darn, if I could’ve, I would have gone down there and told (the officials).”
Callahan, who says his grandmother was always encouraging and had a big influence on his career, tweeted out a photo of her with a two-layer birthday cake when he was home to celebrate the centennial.
Giancursio has the NHL TV package in order to watch the Lightning games, and when the family was at a Buffalo restaurant during the season, Callahan introduced her to coach Jon Cooper, who happened to be there with some staffers.
So what was it like to get some hockey advice from someone who was born when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House?
“She was just sharp as a tack,” Cooper said Saturday. “She was 99 at the time; Mr. (Michael, Ryan’s dad) Callahan was there and we were all making nice comments, and as we got more comfortable, she starting telling me about Ryan’s ice time, saying we could have won the Cup if he had played more than 13 or 14 minutes a game. Everyone was like, ‘Hey grandma, grandma.’ ”