by Patrick Hoffman on 09/21/08 at 08:00 PM ET
The Jaromir Jagr era is over on Broadway which leaves a very valuable and respected position open in the organization: the team captaincy.
For the past three seasons, Jagr did everything he could to make the Blueshirts a better hockey team better. He scored a lot of points (290), played well in the Stanley Cup playoffs (27 points in 23 games), and he said all the right things about the team to reporters whether they won or lost. However, the time has come for a new player to step up and lead this team to hockey’s promised land and that guy should be Chris Drury.
While Drury may be a quiet guy in the locker room, he is anything but quiet on the ice. He scores big goals, wins key face-offs, sacrifices his body to block shots, plays on the power play, kills penalties, and plays hard at both ends of the ice. These are the kind of qualities that coaches dream about their players having.
Drury is also a player who knows what it takes to win at the highest level. He won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and in 1989, he pitched the biggest game in the Little League World Series, leading his team (Trumbull, Connecticut) to victory and being named the MVP of the tournament.
He may have had a tough playoff in his first year with the Rangers (6 points in 10 games), but Drury is known for being a go-to-guy come April. In his career, he has scored 16 playoff game-winners and posted 87 points in 124 games. Assuming that the Rangers make the playoffs in 2008-09 (and I could definitely be getting ahead of myself with that statement), look for Drury to shine and be the playoff performer that he was with the Avs’ and Buffalo Sabres.
I would also imagine that when Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather signed the Trumbull, CT native in July of 2007, both he and head coach Tom Renney envisioned Drury being the team’s next captain. For Renney, this decision should be an absolute no-brainer.
There will be those of you that think Scott Gomez may be the better candidate as he is more outspoken about the team. While I agree that Gomez would make a fine captain, I believe that he is better suited to be an assistant captain with the club.
It’s time to hand over the reigns to Drury, a player who knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup and someone who will play hard and lead his team every single night if given the chance to.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.