Tying Up St. Louis for Callahan Loose Ends

Yesterday ended being one insane day for Rangers fans, so I decided to put this post together to tie-up some loose ends in the aftermath of the Martin St. Louis/Ryan Callahan blockbuster trade.

Two days ago, Steve Zipay at Newsday reported that beyond money, another hang-up in the contract negotiations between the Rangers and Callahan was an issue with no trade/no movement clause. To which I scoffed at, as I refused to believe a NTC would blow up a potential deal to bring back a beloved Ranger. Well…

"We were getting closer on the money," Sather said at Madison Square Garden a few hours after talks broke down. "When this thing got started it was eight years and an awful lot of money for Ryan Callahan or for anybody else, unless you're a first All Star, a player that's won Stanley Cups. [But] the no-trade is the one thing that really bothered me in the end; it really ties your hands. I know it's nice for the players to have security, but 'no-trade' . . . is a tough deal."

…sort of ironic that an issue with a no trade cause ultimately caused Callahan to be traded.

In the aftermath of the trade, Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com reported that the San Jose Sharks were heavily involved in the Callahan trade talks.

Sather acknowledged that he had other offers on the table if the St. Louis deal fell through, but that the returns were geared more towards the future.

…amazing how much differently we would be viewing the Rangers this morning if Sather traded Callahan to San Jose and ended up with just picks and prospects. St. Louis makes them a contender, the other deal might have had us looking towards next season.

Here's Sather's full press conference on the trade…

As you can imagine this trade didn't go over too well with Lightning fans, so St. Louis tried to smooth things over by sending this letter to the Tampa faithful (via Puck Daddy)…

    "Today is a bittersweet day for me. I am sad that this chapter of my career is over. I have had 14 wonderful years in Tampa and have cherished being a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. I would like to thank Mr. Vinik, Tod Leiweke, Steve Yzerman, Bill Wickett, Jon Cooper and the coaching staff and the entire Lightning organization for everything they have done for me through the years and today.

    Mr. Vinik is an amazing owner and man, I am and will remain entirely thankful and appreciative of him and everything he has done for me and my family. I am also so thankful to the unbelievable fans of Tampa Bay.

    When I arrived here in 2000, you all supported and believed in me when not many did. You have continued to support me through the years and I am extremely thankful for it! I know many of you are disappointed with me for my decision to want to leave.

    “I would rather not discuss what brought me to that decision, but in the end this is a decision for my family. I respect the fact that many of you do not agree with my decision and are angry with it. All I really can say is that I am sorry and I am very appreciative of the support you have shown me through the years.

    Last but not least, I want to thank my teammates and the training staff. I have made some friends here who will be my friends for life. I will miss them all.

    My wife, my 3 boys and I will always hold Tampa very near and dear to our hearts. This has been our home and where we have built an amazing life. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you Tampa for everything you have provided me and my family."

It doesn't look like that helped as Gary Shelton at the Tampa Bay Times wrote this…

"But, evidently, he could not bear to play here any longer. What a shame for him. What a shame for you. What a shame for the Lightning. No matter what else you think of St. Louis, part of his legacy will be that he was Captain Opt-Out, the guy who skated away."

…ouch!

I know I was shocked when I heard the news, so I can only imagine how Callahan felt. Here's what he said on TSN radio immediately after the trade (via Bergen Record)…

"I knew it was an option that was going to happen if I didn’t re-sign with New York. No matter how prepared you are for it or knowing it’s going to come still when you hear that initial ‘you’ve been traded’ it’s definitely a shock.”

Callahan admitted he thought a deal would get done.

…i honestly believe Callahan wanted to stay and likely woke up this morning regretting his decision to stand firm on his price and hope Sather blinks first. Unfortunately, Sather doesn't blink with his own free agents. It's too bad Callahan didn't find this out until it was too late.

So now that the Rangers captain is gone, who will wear the "C"? Alain Vigneault announced before last night's loss to the Maple Leafs that the team would go without a captain for the remainder of the season and that Dan Girardi was named a third alternate captain.

…like the idea of letting one of the current alternate captains or someone else step up and earn the "C." When the Rangers win the Stanley Cup this season, I wonder who's going to receive it from Bettman.

As for Callahan this morning? Here's what he looked like taking the ice for the first time as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning…

…two years ago, after the Rangers run to the Eastern Conference Finals, I really thought Callahan was on his way to become one of the greatest Rangers captains of all time. A home grown player, who left it all on the ice. The one thing obviously missing from his resume was a Stanley Cup. But the Rangers were getting Rick Nash and it seemed a matter of when the Rangers were going to win one, not if. Sadly, we all know what's gone on since and now Callahan is in Tampa. While the Rochester native is as much to blame as anyone for this divorce, it doesn't make it any easier to see him go. You will be missed Captain Cally.

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Kevin

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