by Patrick Hoffman on 09/30/08 at 10:50 PM ET
As I’m sure all you hockey fans have heard, Vancover Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was named the team captain today by head coach Alain Vigneault.
“We might be a little outside of the box here (naming Luongo captain), but there’s only two things that, as captain, Roberto can’t do and that’s wear the ‘C’ on his jersey or take faceoffs,’’ Vigneault told reporters this afternoon.
When I first heard about this, I wondered if there were any other goaltenders in the Eastern Conference that were the clear leaders on their team. Two stellar masked men happened to come to mind: New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
When one thinks of the New Jersey Devils, the first players that most think/talk about is their goaltender. Brodeur has been a mainstay in the Devils’ crease for the last 13 seasons, breaking all kinds of team/National Hockey League records in the process. He’s a guy that wants to play every single game, will talk to the media for hours on end and ultimately, is someone that loves playing the game.
I do not have a problem with their current captain, Jamie Langenbrunner. He’s been with the club for the past six seasons, he skates hard, plays on the power play, kills penalties and is not afraid to stick up for his teammates. However, it is Brodeur who eats, sleep and breathes Devils hockey and I wouldn’t hesitate to name him team captain.
Across the river, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is doing everything he can to bleed the Rangers’ red, white and blue. He’s another player that wants to play every single game, one that strives for perfection night in and night out, a player that does everything he can to give his team a chance to win and most importantly, a guy that takes responsibility for his play on the ice.
In the Rangers case, it is pretty obvious that the team’s captaincy is going to come down to Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. Right now, all signs post to Drury, he’s been a leader on the ice wherever he’s played whether it was in the Little League World Series, with Boston University, scoring big goals with the Colorado Avalanche, putting the Buffalo Sabres back on the hockey map and now, he has a chance to captain the Blueshirts and get them back to the Stanley Cup finals.
While selecting Drury or Gomez to be the next Rangers’ captain would certainly be a great choice, I would at least also consider Lundqvist for the role. You build a team from the net out and for the next six seasons, Lundqvist will own the Ranger crease and try to bring them a Stanley Cup, much like Ranger great Mike Richter did back in 1994.
Like Vigneault said, it’s a little outside the box to give the team captaincy to a goaltender but in this day in age, the league is begging for new trends to get their game on the map. May be other teams will follow suit in the future.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.