New York Rangers’ Chad Kolarik Still Waiting for the Call
By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)
The Collective Bargaining Agreement has been ratified, the lockout is over. Players that were shipped to the AHL to play until the lockout ended are heading back to their respective NHL clubs. Or at least preparing to do so.
But Saturday night, Chad Kolarik, worked on his puck handling in front of the visitor bench at Giant Center in Hershey. Pa., 166 miles away from where the New York Rangers were getting ready to take the ice for the first day of training camp. A training camp he attended last summer with a promising chance to make it onto the Rangers roster and for the first time in his career, be in the NHL for more than a handful of games. However, a torn ACL during camp would put an end to that promise, sidelining Kolarik for the entire season.
As some teammates packed up their hockey bags and the lives they made in Connecticut over the last four months to head to the city that never sleeps to get back to work for the Rangers, Kolarik once again finds himself on the outside looking in.
So how does a player with the talent and numbers like Kolarik keep from getting frustrated with situations out of his control that keep him from breaking into the NHL permanently?
“You don’t. I am frustrated,” Kolarik said of his situation following Saturdays loss to the Bears. “You keep doing what you have to do down here, keep putting up points, keep playing well and hopefully somebody notices.”
The soon to be 27-year-old has been doing just that.Playing alongside rookie teammate, JT Miller, Kolarik has been putting up points. Leading the Whale in goals as well as being among the top point producers for his team,. Maybe its the energy he credits teenage Miller for providing, or the veteran experience that allows his emotions to stay in check. Whatever it is, Kolarik hasn’t seemed to let the NHL snub keep him from having good work ethic. If anything, perhaps it makes him work even harder.
There is a bright side for NHL depth players like Kolarik that find themselves unwillingly in the AHL. With players competing in a shortened 48 -game regular season, injuries are bound to spring up. Should New York need someone to step in, Kolarik could be the perfect call up. In the meantime, rather than being a part of what is speculated to be, the Rangers next Stanley Cup run, Kolarik will be helping his current team position themselves into a spot to take a run at the Calder Cup. A position the Whale are currently six-points out of.
Will he be ready when someone does notice?