Well, the celebration from last night's improbable come-from-behind win over the Boston Bruins was short lived.
Callahan, who missed two months following a broken hand he suffered blocking a Kris Letang slap-shot on Dec. 15, has been the heart of the Rangers since the start of last season. He's had a career high in goals (23) while only playing in 60 games for the Blueshirts this season, and is second on the team in points with 48.
Rumors began surfacing shortly after the game that it was more than a bruise when Callahan was not in the locker room following the 5-3 victory that trimmed the Rangers' magic number to make the playoffs to just three.
Following the announcement from coach John Tortorella, the players were somber, but also determined.
"Obviously he is one of the best players on the team, and it's a huge loss," said Marian Gaborik, who assisted on Michael Sauer's game winning goal. "We are going to play for him and we are going to try and go as far we can so that he can come back."
"We're going to miss him a lot," said Chris Drury, who can return to the lineup as soon as Saturday's season finale against the New Jersey Devils. "He plays in every situation, does all little things and does all the big things. He's been great."
The Rangers are going to need players, like Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky, who scored the tying goal last night, to step up offensively. The return of Drury will help on the back-end, namely on defensive-zone faceoffs and penalty killing.
You can never replace a guy like Callahan, but this team has shown it can take punches and get back up before the 10-count. They're going to have to do that moving forward without their future captain.