A lot of people in Montreal can’t figure out how Michael Ryder has downshifted from a 30-goal man to a guy basically tagging along on the first line. But his season can’t be nearly as head-scratching as that of his younger brother, Dan.
Drafted 74th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2005, Dan Ryder was set to take the next step after a productive major junior career.
However, after scoring five points in his first six American League games with the Quad City Flames, Ryder decided to bolt the team and return home to Newfoundland.
Apparently he didn’t leave much of a ‘Dear Darryl’ letter for Calgary’s GM either, as Sutter says he doesn’t know what’s at the root of Ryder’s decision.
Until more light is shed on the subject, all we can do is speculate about what’s potentially impacting Ryder’s thoughts. Maybe hockey isn’t his calling; maybe he and Wes Walz read the same inspiring, life-altering piece of literature. Or perhaps it’s a more serious matter Ryder just prefers to keep personal.
Whatever the reason, here’s hoping this young man sorts out the details of his life sooner rather than later. And if any part of him feels inclined to return to the rink, you’d hope for his sake Ryder fully understands how unique being a hockey player is in terms of ways to make a living.
IS SLATS ON SOMETHIN’
Glen Sather is apparently taking the John Lennon approach to running the Rangers; he’s imagined a world whereby a fellow GM is going to serve up a top-four defenseman for Marek Malik.
Malik may have scored the greatest shootout goal of all time, but you could trade him to the 1974 Washington Capitals and he still wouldn’t be one of the four best blueliners on a team.
Unless some salary cap-hampered GM covets Malik’s expiring contract more than Gollum coveted the ring, Sather is unlikely to find a taker until his asking price approaches earth.
At this point, he’d be much further ahead taking a more Mötley Crüe approach to Malik: “Marek, don’t go away mad. Marek, just go away.”
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every second Friday.
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