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Still No ‘C’ In Columbus

from Michael Arace of the Puck-Rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

Remember that when Nash departed, there was talk that R.J. Umberger might be the next captain. Then, there was talk that Jack Johnson might be the guy. Umberger and Johnson are quality veterans but, I would submit, they are better as alternates. That is why neither wears the “C.”

Davidson, Kekalainen and company have said that going without a captain is not an issue. But it is. They know it because they are hockey people. Their team is inconsistent, in part, because it lacks a strong leader. This is not a new development in Columbus.

The right captain might be a guy like George Armstrong or Shane Doan, with leadership qualities that soar over physical ability. He might be a guy like Jean Beliveau or Joe Sakic, setting a high standard with dignity, class and ethereal talent. He might be a guy like Mark Messier, who could guarantee a victory and then back it up with a hat trick.

Does Brandon Dubinsky have enough game, or enough tact? Is there a man among the fuzz-faced — Ryan Johansen, Ryan Murray, Boone Jenner — who has the leadership chops?

The Blue Jackets have to get this right. Possibly, they will look for a bridge at the trade deadline or next summer, a respected veteran to wear the “C” until someone from the next generation presents himself.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Chris from NOHS's avatar

Why they got rid of Vinny Prospal I’ll never know.  He was a mainstay on the team and leader both on and off the ice.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 12/19/13 at 10:49 AM ET


Personally I think the hand-wringing about team captaincy is totally overblown. At the risk of sounding contrarian, it’s just a patch on a jersey. From the NHL’s perspective the only official role a captain or alternate has is authority to speak with the officials. Naming a captain (or not) doesn’t change the culture of your team, it merely reflects it.

Most teams do elect to have a single, well respected player serve as a permanent captain, but it’s not the only model. Some teams have had co-captins. Some teams rotate the C throughout the season (as the Wild did for almost a decade). Some teams designate co-captains. Some teams permanently run with 3 alternates (the Bruins won 2 Stanley Cups doing this).

I don’t think any of these systems are inherently better or worse than any other; it’s about what makes the most sense for the guys you have. If the team thinks a specific, well respected guy deserves the honor, by all means name a captain. If there’s not one single player that fits that description and leadership is shared, by all means, rotate the C, or don’t even name one. I don’t think you NEED to have a single guy be “the guy” in the room to be successful. For some teams that’s just not how it works.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 12/19/13 at 02:12 PM ET

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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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