Kirk McEwen on Selfish Captains
What a weird month or so it’s been for Marty St. Louis and the Lightning. First, he’s left off Team Canada and makes a huff when it looks like he won’t be going to Sochi and pulling down gold with his boys. Then Steven Stamkos, his injured teammate steps aside and clears the way for St. Louis to realize his dream and get the gold medal. It seems to me that Stamkos should be the one a little steamed but I understand. St. Louis probably felt like he was passed over by his own GM a couple of times to rep his country in the Games and if that’s the case, deal me. How utterly selfish! Well, consider yourself and your legacy gone! Same thing, I’d imagine for Ryan Callahan, former Rangers Captain and newest member of the Lightning…for now. He couldn’t come to terms with his former team and since he’s a free agent after the season Ryan Callahan may be just a rental. Neither one of these stories ends in a favorable light.
We’ll start with Callahan. Imagine being 28 years old and a star in New York City. That was Callahan. He just got back from playing for Team USA in his second Olympics (winning silver in Vancouver) and one would think in a pretty good place. The Captain of the New York Rangers, playing alongside the great King Henrik (goalie Lundqvist) every night, trying to win a cup for the Apple. Sorta like “Jeter on Ice!” But it wasn’t to be and it came down to money. Surprised? It’s NEVER about money and it’s ALWAYS about money! Callahan wanted $39 million for 6 years and the Rangers were firm at $36 million for 6 years. He couldn’t live on $6 million a year? It had to be $6.5 million? OK. Now he’s no longer associated with the only organization he’s known in the league. Over $500,000 a year. There’s no guarantee he’ll get that someplace else and Callahan has entered the unknown. Time will tell how his scenario plays out.
Marty St. Louis is a little different situation. There’s no shame in requesting a trade but this is all about the timing. The guy finally ascends to the role of Captain, helps keep the Bolts afloat during Stammer’s absence, and then bails on his brothers in the midst of a playoff race? This couldn’t wait until after the season? This sounds more like something you’d expect from baseball or basketball than hockey! The Lightning were the team that gave the undrafted, unheralded free agent a chance back in 2000 and together they both thrived. It worked out so well they were able to win the Cup in 2004, forever immortalized. St. Louis was to retire a Lightning, number raised to the rafters. Now, who knows? Sure, there were bumps along the way including a trade request to these same Rangers in 2009 but that passed without incident. This time Marty decided he’d had enough as I assume Callahan had, two stars passing in the night. It’s sad these chapters end this way for both men, skating on the only teams and fans that have really mattered in their careers.