after the recent comment by Todd McClellan stating that the San Jose Sharks had no captain, I wanted to address the idea of captaincy regarded in the NHL. Each year, fans of teams who don't have a player of the ilk of Yzerman will debate over who will fulfill the role of captain for their team, and who will be the alternates. Sometimes it's simply given to the best player (see: Luongo), other times it's given to an experienced, lead-by-example player (see: Lidstrom), and sometimes, if your team has commitment issues (Buffalo) and just got out of a joint custody battle (Drury/Briere), it will be given to the new boyfriend who is stronger and willing to beat up your ex-husband if he comes back unannounced (Rivet).
Every NHL interview regarding the captaincy will provide sound bytes mentioning intangibles, veteran leadership, and countless catchphrases and cliches, when really, the process seems simpler. With instances like Crosby and Toews, it's clear that those organizations are investing in their youth, and see something special in the maturity of these individuals, or at least the learning curve necessary for this responsibility. When Buffalo rotated the captaincy, it was simply because that team was without direction after losing co-captains at the same time. No one in that dressing room deserved the C, in my opinion.
It isn't often that a significant piece of an organization is stripped of the captaincy. Patrick Marleau being the most recent of these, after a few seasons of reduced production, could be for a number of reasons: lack of performance/ leadership qualities, or even to open the market for a trade (Heatley?). Mike Modano, despite being the Dallas Star for years, was also relieved of duties as captain with Brendan Morrow taking his place. Morrow would be captain material on any team he played on, so it wasn't a bad choice, but what is the desired outcome from taking the C from Mikey Mo? A shakeup/ wake up?
Love this JC Penney photo op. Meanwhile, wifey is letting loose.
Do NHL players think of letters the same way fans do? Each team boasts players who don't have letters that easily could, so is it a mental spark for those few individuals?
The captaincy is a tradition that I whole-heartedly support, though I'd be curious to hear a candid response from current players about if and if so, what having a letter means. And no matter what you think of the C, you've got to have enough common sense and self respect not to give it to Alexei Yashin. Isles... always worth a laugh.
If you read this, all 3 of you, name your favorite NHL captain in the comments, and why. I've always been a big fan of Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla. Why? Elite players who lead by example, play respectfully, but will destroy your life if you cross any lines.