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Callahan embraces move to studio as NHL Network analyst

Longtime forward ready to share insight on air with playing career likely over

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

Ryan Callahan will get a chance this season to find out if talking about hockey suits him as a second career in the game.

The forward, who played 13 NHL seasons for the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, has joined NHL Network as on-air in-studio analyst. He'll make his debut at 9:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 16, when he'll join Jamison Coyle and Kevin Weekes on "NHL Tonight."

The 34-year-old is under contract with the Ottawa Senators for the final season of a six-year deal he signed with the Lightning on June 25, 2014, but will be on long-term injured reserve. His playing career is likely over because of a degenerative disk disease of the lumbar spine.

"This goes back to three years ago. I was on NHL Network for the World Cup [of Hockey 2016] when I was injured and I wasn't able to play," Callahan said Wednesday. "The NHL Network invited me out to do it for a couple days and I enjoyed it, had fun doing it. They reached out to me obviously when they found out I wasn't playing this year. The interest was mutual. For me the biggest thing is staying in the game is really important. I can hopefully pass some knowledge on to the fans. Being in the League for 13 years, I can share a little bit of insight into what's going on in the players' minds and what's going on in the games."

Video: TBL@CAR: Callahan deflects in go-ahead goal

Callahan said he spoke to former NHL players and current television analysts Martin Biron and Scott Hartnell about the transition from the ice to the studio. Their best advice to him was to try out the television avenue because it gives him an avenue to have his voice in the game.

"You're talking about what you know, so when you get on, feel comfortable with it and share your knowledge," Callahan said. "There will be some time when I'm not completely 100 percent comfortable behind the desk on TV, but I'm looking at it as a new challenge, a new chapter and I'm excited to do it."

Callahan will be living in Tampa and commuting to the NHL Network studio in Secaucus, New Jersey.

As for his health, Callahan said his back is holding up well other than occasional soreness. 

"It's more the contact of the game that aggravated my back, unpredictable movements," he said. "Luckily, day to day I'm good. There are days I'm a little bit sore but I'm pretty lucky to be able to stop before it got too bad."

Callahan had 386 points (186 goals, 200 assists) in 757 regular-season games and 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) in 121 Stanley Cup Playoff games through last season. He also played for the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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