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Ryan Callahan(notes) did what Ryan Callahan does for the New York Rangers in last night's stirring 5-3 rally over the Boston Bruins. He skated 19:55, picked up a helper on Brandon Dubinsky's(notes) tying goal and, late in the third period, laid out his body in front of a Zdeno Chara(notes) blast.

If you've seen any of the NHL hardest shots competitions in the last several years, you know how hazardous to one's health blocking that shot can be; alas, it appears Zdeno Chara broke Ryan Callahan.

TSN is reporting Callahan has a broken ankle following that blocked shot; Coach John Tortorella later confirmed: a leg injury for Ryan Callahan that is a "long term injury...out indefinitely.'" From Torts: "Don't get me wrong, there is nothing good that comes out of this, but it can galvanize the team even more."

From the Rangers:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that Ryan Callahan has suffered a fracture in his right leg, and will be sidelined indefinitely.  Callahan suffered the injury in the third period of last night's 5-3 victory vs. the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

Callahan was examined by Dr. Andrew Feldman earlier today.  He has registered career-highs in goals (23), assists (25), points (48), power play goals (10), and game-winning goals (five) while skating in 60 games this season.  Callahan leads the team in power play goals and game-winning goals, ranks second in goals, points, and power play points (15), is tied for third in assists, and ranks second on the team and 12th in the NHL with 224 hits.  Callahan missed 19 games from December 16 to January 25 with a broken hand suffered on December 15 at Pittsburgh.  Since returning from injury on February 1, he leads the Rangers in scoring with 13 goals and 24 points in 27 games.  The fifth-year veteran notched his first career hat trick and a career-high, five points (four goals, one assist) vs. Philadelphia on March 6, and recorded his 100th career NHL point with an assist at Boston on October 23.

So now what for the Blueshirts?

Dave Shapiro of Blueshirt Banter on the Callahan injury and impact:

The injury is a huge blow to the Rangers, as Cally has been one of, if not the most important players all year. He is clearly their on ice leader, and is their second leading scorer (23 goals, 48 points).

Kris Newbury(notes), who was recalled yesterday as a precaution and sent back down before the game, was re-called immediately following the game. He will play until Chris Drury(notes) returns, which may be sooner rather than later. If I had to guess, Marian Gaborik(notes) will slide up to replace Cally on the Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov(notes) line, and Drury/Newbury will slide in to the fourth line RW role, with Drury taking critical face offs.

There's also talk of Matt Gilroy(notes) shifting to forward, via Andrew Gross:

The injury is non-surgical. "It's long term," Tortorella said.

To compensate, Tortorella will move second-year defenseman Matt Gilroy, a healthy scratch the past six games, to right wing for Thursday's crucial game against the Thrashers at Madison Square Garden as the Rangers try to secure one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots with two regular-season games remaining. Also, captain Chris Drury will resume participating in full practices with the team. An injured left knee has kept Drury out of the lineup since Feb. 3.

Of the most essential, lose-this-guy-and-we're-screwed players for the Rangers, it probably goes Henrik Lundqvist(notes), Marc Staal(notes) and then Callahan and Dubinsky are right there. (The assumption being that every game Gaborik gives you is gravy.)

Callahan was injured earlier this season, and the Rangers had a winning record without him. Different story in the playoffs, obviously. Anyone who watched that Rangers' comeback last night knows this is a dangerous team in the postseason; Callahan's health will help determine how dangerous.

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