Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/30/10 at 05:43 PM ET
Today, the Hurricanes made official what we all knew was going to happen. Defenseman Tim Gleason and center Brandon Sutter have been named alternate captains for Carolina. Gleason was the obvious choice of the defensemen, and he wore the A a bunch last year when the injuries were taking toll on the team’s leaders. He’s grown into a position of leadership and has been a “team first” kind of guy for the last two seasons at least. In case you never saw this clip from last season, here’s a perfect example of why he gets to wear the A:
Brandon Sutter is one of the faces of the future of this franchise. Although he had a breakout sophomore season with 40 (21/19) points and only TWO penalty minutes, we’ve not even seen the surface of what this kid is going to do. He’s not being given the A justbecause of his lineage. He’s not being given the A because of those 21 goals. It’s because he’s shown an amazing amount of maturity for a young man and so much hockey smarts. And of course those smarts are a part of his surname. Not everyone who has sports superstar genes can make anything of them, but Brandon Sutter is on track to raise the bar that his dad and uncles set.
Erik Cole and his apologists might have hurt feelings over this. Cole is a popular guy, a swell guy, but I’ve never thought he was the right kind of guy to be a leader. Certainly not the guy I want talking to the referees.
Tuomo Ruutu seems like a good choice, but I get the feeling that he’s not at all interested in any position of captaincy. Although it’s a cop out, he might use the excuse that a lot of European born players use when turning down captaincy: English is not his first language. Saku Koivu is an excellent example of a guy who refused to use a language barrier as an excuse. Although he spoke very little French, he captained the Canadiens for nine seasons. He took a lot of criticism from the press and some Quebec politicians for not speaking French, but he was the clear leader of that team. And a very good one. Tuomo Ruutu is a great guy, and he does display some leadership abilities, but he’s probably more comfortable not being put in that position.
Some day, this will be Brandon Sutter’s team. Some day, it might be Jeff Skinner’s team. For now, it’s Eric Staal’s team. While some might not like the choice of Captain, there’s not going to be many who find fault in the choice of alternates.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.