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Rangers’ Callahan cleared for contact, won’t play in opener

Sep 27, 2013, 1:18 AM EDT

ryancallahangetty Getty Images

The New York Rangers will play their first nine regular season games on the road with a new head coach in Alain Vigneault, which is the kind of situation that makes fans clamor for captain Ryan Callahan. He won’t be able to play in at least that first contest on Oct. 3, though.

The team announced that Callahan, 28, has been cleared for contact yet will not play against the Phoenix Coyotes in that season-opener next Thursday.

The do-everything winger is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Vigneault likely recalls the downside of rushing a player back from a shoulder injury – Ryan Kesler went through some serious growing pains in that regard in Vancouver – so it’s likely wise that the Rangers seem like they’re proceeding with caution here.

Callahan probably wants to get on the ice as soon as possible, though. Not only does his team need his help, but he’s entering a contract year at age 28, meaning he’s likely in line for a significant raise (either from the Rangers or someone else).

The Rangers and Callahan aren’t immediately getting their way regarding his rehab, yet this is still a promising step in the right direction as a huge season approaches.

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