Bobby Ryan recently experienced what life for a star hockey player in Ottawa is all about during a half-day marathon of media commitments, fitness assessments and a youth hockey camp. It was a small sample of what's in store for the newest scoring right wing of the Ottawa Senators, acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on July 5.
"That it has a lot of passion for the game," Ryan told NHL.com, discussing the lessons learned about Ottawa during that whirlwind day on July 17.
Ryan twice referred to his day as an "eye-opening" experience for a guy who isn't used to being in the blinding spotlight of an entire sports market.
He estimates he did between 40-50 interviews with various local media outlets, including television, radio and print. He said he stood on the ice for his final media session of the day, in front of one of the benches at Bell Sensplex that was completely full of reporters and cameramen leaning on his every word.
Bobby Ryan discussing last season, when he had 11 goals in 46 games with Anaheim, and how he is fast forwarding to his new challenge in Ottawa:
"I know individually that statistically the year wasn't what we wanted, but we won the [Pacific] Division, got contributions from everywhere, so I don't look at last year as a negative year because there were some good things. But I try to get away from that and think about the possibilities for this year, where I can go and what I can do. I think there are a lot of possibilities for where I can step up and be a better player for a younger team."
Zach Bogosian answering a question regarding critics suggesting he and some of his teammates potentially being overpaid to stay in Winnipeg:
"Obviously, you want to do what's right for the team and yourself. You try to meet in the middle. It's not my job to listen to people who say I'm overpaid or underpaid or whatever. My job to go out there and do the right things, help the team win. I was real happy to see the rest of the guys get locked up long-term. We've been talking over the course of the summer, seeing how things are going, and I'm just real excited to be there for the next seven years."
"I told somebody up there that the only time we see more than five or six reporters in the room in Anaheim is if we're playing [Los Angeles] or a Canadian-based team, so this is a much different scale than I have seen before," Ryan said. "I wasn't quite prepared for it, but that's why I say it was an eye-opener and it was one of those experiences I won't ever forget."
Ryan eventually retreated back to his home in Idaho, just across the border from Jackson Hole, Wyo. He found the remote location with his girlfriend after the 2009-10 season and said it's the perfect spot for a guy -- even one as personable as himself -- to disconnect from the hectic NHL lifestyle for a few months.
"It's in the middle of nowhere, nothing but golf, fishing, all that good stuff," Ryan said. "Can't complain one bit."
Despite the summer seclusion, Ryan has tried to connect himself to the Senators since the trade. He isn't complaining about that either.
He said he has talked with several of his new teammates, either on the phone or direct messaging on Twitter. He spent time with Senators defenseman Marc Methot during his trip to Ottawa two weeks ago and said he knows Kyle Turris from playing against him and through some events outside of hockey.
Ryan still has not spoken with Senators coach Paul MacLean, but he's heard nothing but positive reviews from his new teammates. He said he has an idea of what MacLean, the 2013 Jack Adams Award winner, will expect from him.
Ryan, 26, had four straight 30-goal seasons with the Ducks and should get first dibs at playing right wing alongside center Jason Spezza.
"My role might change a little, but I don't think my job is going to change a whole lot," Ryan said. "I've been fortunate to play with a playmaking center for a long time, and that seems to be what they have in mind for me again in Ottawa. My role on the ice is to be that goal-scoring winger for the center who is making plays."
He said he may try to take on a bigger leadership role off the ice, or at least a bigger role than he had in Anaheim.
"It's a little bit of a younger team," Ryan said. "I know their average age last year was 26 and they have since lost two 40-year-olds and brought in another 26-year-old, so the average is going to go even lower. But you start to learn your role as you start to go through training camp. If they need me to be a vocal guy to help get the younger guys prepared that's certainly something I'd love to do, but those guys played some big games last year and some big minutes, so it seems like a very professional young team."
Now, he knows he will join the Senators in a city that will be nothing like Ryan's summer life in Idaho.
"It's a different feeling, for sure," Ryan said. "It's nervousness again. I've been through eight training camps with the Ducks and you know what you're going to get. You know what each day will bring, what the physical testing will be like and what is expected of you on the ice. I haven't seen a whole lot outside of Anaheim in eight years, so this is brand new for me. I think nerves play a big part into it. I'm anxious to get going."
Callahan preparing for delayed start to season
New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan told NHL.com his rehab from shoulder surgery is on schedule, but that also means he doesn't plan on doing much in training camp. Callahan had the operation done in late May.
Ryan Callahan told NHL.com his shoulder rehab is on track, but also that he probably won't be doing much in training camp. (Photo: Getty Images)
"As the schedule goes, it's going to dip into training camp and it's possible it could dip into the regular season, too," Callahan said. "The biggest thing with this is the contact. I should be able to be fully skating and shooting in training camp, but it's when you can take contact and I don't think you know that until you get further on and they evaluate it and check it out. As of now, how the rehab is going, I'm right on schedule."
Callahan admitted that he initially injured himself in a fight with Philadelphia Flyers forward Maxime Talbot on Jan. 29. He missed three games and returned Feb. 7, but Callahan said he had shoulder problems the rest of the season and separated it multiple times. He would not say that his shoulder problems limited him in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he scored two goals in 12 games.
"I was playing the way I wanted to and I could do everything I wanted to do," Callahan said.
But does he regret going after Talbot in the third period with the Rangers leading 2-0?
"No, absolutely not," Callahan said. "He was in the crease, right around Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] and those things happen during a game."
Callahan expects to be up to speed with coach Alain Vigneault's systems, language, style, demands, etc., despite being limited in training camp.
"I hope to be on the ice in training camp and being right there with it," Callahan said. "Through video or maybe sitting in the stands and watching it in games, I may get a better understanding of it all then some of the guys on the ice. It's not something that worries me."
Callahan has done some homework on Vigneault as he continues to rehab.
"I've spoken to a few guys that have played for him and everybody says the same thing, that he's a great coach and they all respect him," Callahan said. "I'm excited for the opportunity he brings and just ready to get going again here. There's definitely a new level of anticipation. You want to get there and find out exactly how we're going to play. It's the unknown that you want to get by. You want to get to camp and get settled in."
Bogosian sends credit in Huddy's direction
Soon after proclaiming his affinity for Winnipeg through both his words and his signature on a seven-year, $36 million contract, Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian tossed some praise in the direction of assistant coach Charlie Huddy, who played 18 years as an NHL defenseman and won the Stanley Cup five times with the Edmonton Oilers.
"He's been great for me since Day 1," Bogosian said of Huddy, who joined the Jets staff when the franchise moved to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season. "My first four years in the NHL I had three different coaches, so you never really know what you're going to get out of something like that. Once I got to Winnipeg I realized Charlie was real easy to work with and he was good with all the guys. He's been great for me. Obviously, I want to play for him for a long time."
After signing a seven-year deal with Winnipeg, defenseman Zach Bogosian credited assistant coach Charlie Huddy for his development. (Photo: Jonathan Kozub/NHLI)
Bogosian said Huddy has been particularly good at keeping him on an even keel during games, something the 23-year-old has struggled with in the past.
"I'm pretty high-strung on the bench, I have quite the temper sometimes. He's the calming influence," Bogosian said. "I get a little fired up back there, but he always stays calm and when he tries to explain something to you it's not in a bad way. He teaches by talking to you and showing you video. That's been one of the best things for me. When you play for someone who is always yelling and screaming, sometimes it's hard to focus, but Charlie has been great as far as being calm."
This and that
* Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff finished locking up what he believes is the core of the team for both now and the future when he signed Bogosian on Monday. The Jets have 11 players signed for at least the next three seasons, tied for third most in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
However, the Winnipeg organization has not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007, when it was the Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets are also consistently among the worst teams in the League in goals-against per game, finishing no higher than No. 25 in each of the past six seasons.
But the 11 players the Jets have signed for the next three seasons also have an average age of 24.5. Among them are 20-year-old forward Mark Scheifele and 19-year-old defenseman Jacob Trouba.
The questions: Do the Jets have the right players signed? Is Winnipeg's young core good enough to make this team a playoff contender soon?
The answers: TBD.
* Callahan is entering the final season of his current contract with the Rangers. He said there haven't been any discussions about an extension.
The Rangers also have to work on extensions for goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Dan Girardi, but their most pressing order of business this summer is signing restricted free agent Derek Stepan to a new contract before training camp begins. They avoided salary arbitration with Mats Zuccarello on Tuesday by settling on a one-year contract.
The Rangers, by the way, have only three players signed for at least the next three seasons (Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh).
* The San Jose Sharks signed 29-year-old center Joe Pavelski to a five-year contract extension Tuesday, ensuring he'll be under contract through the 2018-19 season. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle are all entering the final season on their current deals. Boyle is 37, Thornton is 34 and Marleau will be 34 when the season starts. It's hard to fathom general manager Doug Wilson signing all three to extensions in the near future.
* The Chicago Blackhawks will spend the first four days of training camp, Sept. 12-15, at the University of Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena. The Detroit Red Wings always open their camp in Traverse City, Mich. More teams should do this if for no other reason than it expands their community outreach and takes them to places with people who may otherwise not get to see them play live.