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‘As long as I’m coaching this team, I want Ryan Callahan on the bench,’ says Lightning’s Cooper

Apr 24, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT

Jon Cooper,

With the Tampa Bay Lightning’s season now over, the discussion about the club’s future and that of its players will pick up.

Head coach Jon Cooper, who became a likeable character during the Lightning’s brief playoff experience, spoke highly of forward Ryan Callahan, who was acquired in the blockbuster deal for Martin St. Louis at the NHL trade deadline in early March and an unrestricted free agent this summer. His current three-year deal worth $12.825 million is set to expire.

(Video: Was trading Callahan worth it for New York?)

To put it simply: Cooper would love to get Callahan re-signed. Just one problem, and that is it’s a decision that’s not in his control.

That said, the 29-year-old Callahan made quite the impression with the rookie NHL bench boss, scoring six goals and 11 points in 20 regular season games, but going without a point in four playoff games.

“I really, really hope Ryan considers us as a place he wants to spend the rest of his career,” said Cooper, “because as long as I’m coaching this team, I want Ryan Callahan on the bench. I don’t know how much stronger I can be about that.”

Also, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said prior to the beginning of the playoffs that he would “love” to re-sign Callahan. So stay tuned.

You can see the entire media scrum, which lasted more than 16 minutes, below.

  1. barkar942 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Personally, I think Cally will go home to Buffalo, be named Captain, and the “rebuild” will be done around him.

    • valoisvipers - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Go home to Buffalo, yuck!

      • barkar942 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM

        You have to remember, that is his home. I really feel they want him, he would be happy to go there, and they have the cap space to give him what he wants.

      • mjw9326mjw9326 - Apr 25, 2014 at 6:49 AM

        Funny you would say that. Why is it that so many guys, after they retire, love to stay in the Buffalo area. Why o top notch people like Scotty Bowman, Hay Neale, Marcel Dionne and more, stay here? Guys get here and find they love the area.
        You don’t have to pay a million for a super nice house and with the four seasons plus cheaper cot of living, it is a nice place for them to raise a family. Toronto is only a two hour drive plus NYC is an hour flight. many of the suburban schools are some of the best in NY State, which has a lot higher education standards than many southern states.
        The Sabres will be pretty damn good likely in a couple of years. Many other teams will still be floundering or on the way down.

      • benp72 - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM

        Keyword to mjw9326mjw9326’s comment is “retire”. Do you really think Captain Cally is going to want to go from playing on the Rangers & Lightning to the last place team in the league? And do you really think the Sabres want another Lieno contract? He’s going to want A LOT more money, hence why NY got rid of him. The last thing the Sabres should do right now is invest that much in a single player

    • mjw9326mjw9326 - Apr 25, 2014 at 6:43 AM

      I hope Tim Murray is listening. The Sabres can easily afford him. They are going to be around the salary cap floor, not top. They can use some veteran leadership. Callahan is from Rochester, I think, so he could play close to home.
      This team may be awful for now, but they have a lot of young kids in the pipeline and a ton of high picks in the next couple of years that can become either more top talent or turned into young guys ready to play now.

  2. cliffatola - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I am not a Bolts fan, I think it is time for them to allow Stamkos to lead that team as he seems like he is certainly capable. The money and contract he was asking for in NY was a little over the top, some would say there are intangibles that don’t show on the score sheet but considering his history of injuries I don’t think a long term deal is in the Lightning’ best interest.

  3. billiam55 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    nah. hes not a bolt. hes a ranger. always will be in his heart. but i think he’ll go to the sabres since he has family from buffalo. or maybe hell come back to broadway ;p (prob not)

    • lightning9126 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      Last time I checked, he wore that Bolts emblem on his jersey.

      So yea, until July 1st or if he gets an extension which I hope he does; Ryan Callahan is a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

      He’s a Bolt. He loves Tampa and our team. Just let it go already.

      • thaifarang81 - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:48 AM

        “He loves Tampa and your team” until they can’t pay him the money he wants, which they can’t, then he will love some other city and some other team. Don’t forget the guy grew up in the NYR farm system, was made captain and wouldn’t lower he unrealistic demands to stay on the team. Personally any team that signs him for 6+yrs at 6+ mil a season deserves to get burnt. He has about 2 healthy seasons left in him and is not productive come playoffs!

      • billiam55 - Apr 25, 2014 at 7:43 AM

        ya bc he was traded. its not like he wanted to go pal. and wat thaifarange81 said is correct unfortunately.. everyone rips glen sather for the trade but the money he wanted for a guy of his play? hell no. remember all those goals he gave u in the playoffs?….ya me neither. who knows. maybe he’ll come back to reality with money. i still think hes gonna go to buffalo. we’ll see.

  4. bobcat82 - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:53 AM

    THERE YA GO! What a great way to lower Cally’s salary demands! Proclaim that “As long as you are coach you want to have Callahan on the bench”. Even though he was INVISBLE during this series against the Canadiens. LOL. SO GLAD my Rangers traded this FOOL.

  5. rpiotr01 - Apr 25, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    When told how much money Callahan was seeking, Cooper replied, “Oh hellll no! F#$% that s^&*”

  6. joey4id - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    on the bench? Is that what Callahan didn’t see enough ice time during the series? He, Stamkos and Filppula were under utilized as unit and at times individual TOI was too low.

    • falstaffsmind - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      I think Filppula was still injured honestly. He wasn’t quite himself out there. And I think it held the Callahan, Filppula line back.

      • joey4id - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        Could be…. Overall I think Cooper did a tremendous job with the team he had. He had to deal with adversity (St. Louis issue) and of course injuries. However, I feel he was somewhat out coached by a more experienced coach. Honestly, unless St. Louis and Bishop where there, they didn’t have a chance, and it’s not solely because they had to play the backup goalie, but more so the backup goalie lacked the ability needed. Some backups are better than others. Minnesota is getting a nice run out of their backup. Right?

      • falstaffsmind - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        I suspect that Vasilevsky will back up Bishop next year. Unless they want him starting in the AHL. One way or another, he’s in North America.

  7. blueshirtsfaithful - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    lightning9126- HAHAHAHA Callys a bolt I bet he still has his NYR gear on under that explanation team bs of a jersey you fool love down there. And oh yeah anyone that goes from 20 degree days and snow all the time in NY and goes to whatever ridiculous midwinter sunny degree day in Tampa is gonna say they love it but to normal people and Cally it’s called vacation and you always come home!! But I also think he’s not going to Buf I think he wants to retire in the playoffs not last place and oh wait the bolts made the playoffs for about five seconds maybe less I sneezed one and missed the HABS sweep yous!!!!!!! Cally a Ranger always will be and the captain spot is still open for him!!!!

    • lightning9126 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      LOLOLOL someone is a bit angry. I was just pointing out logic here.

      And sure we got swept, but it was different factors. As for our jersey, if you have nothing else to do than point out how awful and ugly they are then that says a lot about the kind of fan you are.

      Just an observation. :)

  8. blueshirtsfaithful - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Just stating the obvious Tampa had two of the best players last year and did nothing with them. And then ran one out of town. Just saying your team can never utilize a player like cally he’s a grinding shot blocking old school player. I hope you liked him while he was there cause just like tampa’s golden boy, Callys gonna drop you like a sack potatoes!!! Mark my words June cally walks!!!!!
    Being the heart and sole for an original Six team means a lot to players like cally and playing in a SMALLLLLLLL market witch I will not name but they like to call them selves bolts just doesn’t work for cally. And oh yeah lightning doesn’t strike twice so I’d say Tampa is one and done!!

  9. stepanup - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Callahan was Callahan in Tampa. 11 points in 20 games, great guy on the bench. Sounds about right. Doesn’t sound like 6.5M.

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