Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/21/13 at 07:16 AM ET
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
This was how it was in the days of Jean Béliveau, arguably the greatest captain to put on a pair of hockey pants: He hobbled into the Montreal Canadiens dressing room wearing a cast over an injured knee. It was the last practice before the start of the 1961-62 NHL season, and head coach Toe Blake announced to the assembled players, “Boys, here’s your new captain.”
There had been a player vote and Béliveau, 30, about to begin his ninth full season in the NHL, was “shocked” to learn he had been chosen by his fellow Habs. Had Béliveau been playing now, his teammates would have had precious little say. The general manager, coach and sundry other front-office types would have met and discussed everything from Béliveau’s contract status and salary cap hit to his willingness to work with a head coach, his ability to function under the media spotlight, his status within the marketplace and, ultimately, his appeal as the Face of the Franchise. That’s how captains are chosen in today’s NHL. They’re appointed, not elected, which means the ‘C’ given to a player stands for more than just character, chutzpah or class. It stands for corporate – who can support the brand? Who’s best for business, on and off the ice?
“I would say no teams allow players to pick the captain,” Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said.
Not a one?
“I don’t know of any that has a player vote,” Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart Steve Yzerman said. “The organization does it.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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