There are questions about Ryan Malone that were raised after his arrest in April for DUI/Cocaine possession. It was also a disappointing end to his career in Tampa Bay. The gritty left wing had his followers and admirers. He'd joined the Lightning during the unhinged summer of 2008, but earned his place on the roster for six seasons with the Lightning.
His arrest basically ended his career here - suspension from the club, compliance-buyout of his poorly-thought-out OK Hockey-era contract. While there were questions what was in store for Ryan's immediate future (was the 34-year-old done?) there was also enough interest still in his services - at least as stated by his agent - to keep hope alive for a continuation of his career.
Over the weekend, Ryan decided to join Martin St. Louis, Dominic Moore and other former Lightning players skating in informal skate sessions with the New York Rangers. This was his first step toward redemption.
His second step took place this morning when he addressed the media and publicly apologized to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and the fans:
"I made a mistake and I need to admit that and luckily no one got hurt," Malone said, per snyrangers.com. "It changed my life and my family life for the better. I would like to publicly apologize to Mr. Vinik and the TB organization. Mr. Vinik has done so much for the organization there. I wish them the best and the fans were great and I wish them the best and he is doing great things in TB."
It takes a big man to apologize. While he's doing it in New York, please don't hold it against him - after being bought-out, it means he cannot return to the Lightning for a year, and couldn't participate in informal skates with the club. It's not the where he made the remarks that matter; it's that he made them.
Where Malone will play in 2014-15 remains to be seen - he wasn't signed by the Rangers and remains a free agent - but here's wishing him the best and hoping he is clear of his demons that led to the end of his tenure in Tampa.