Monday, September 22, 2008

The Captain Conundrum

There is much debate of late over who will become the 25th captain of the New York Rangers. From all that I have read, and I am not about to link all of the pieces as both MSM and bloggers are weighing in on it left and right, everyone seems to think this is a two horse race: Chris Drury vs. Scott Gomez.

I find it remarkable and completely disagree with either choice. First off, let's look at why they are the leading candidates: Both have won Cups, both can put up some points, both are signed to well-paid, long-term contracts. The arguing points used by proponents of each against the other is that Drury is too quiet and Gomez acts too immature. Both statements are true, and that should disqualify each of them in the battle for the captaincy.

Markus Naslund and Wade Redden both have worn letters before but both fall into the same category as Drury as leaders by example. Captains of that ilk work in Detroit, in Colorado and in Ottawa but they don't work here. History has proven that.

New York needs a cult of personality to lead them, and none of the aforementioned 2008-09 Rangers qualify as that. Mark Messier, widely acknowledged as The Captain, was one. Neither his predecessor (Kelly Kisio) nor his successors (Brian Leetch and Jaromir Jagr) had the power to force their will upon others, to motivate others and to resuscitate others. They were great, great hockey players but they couldn't make those around them great.

And New York demands greatness.

Is that quality in the current Ranger locker room? In skill ... perhaps but, at least at the moment and at least on the surface, not in personality. Drury and Gomez are both good hockey players and proven winners but Drury keeps to himself and Gomez smiles in postgame interviews after losses. The short term solution for this is to spread three A's around until someone steps up and brings the team with them.

Perhaps the captaincy could go to Staal, Girardi, Dawes or Callahan but not yet. The C brings with it a legacy and it should not be tarnished just because fans or pundits feel that somebody has to have it.


Anonymous said...

I cant say that I have seen much out of his personality but just be the play on the ice that he has shown so far, somewhere down the road, maybe sooner then we all might expect, you might have to consider Dubinsky for the C if you are going to put Stall, Dawes, Girardi, and Cally into the mix. I believe with the confidence that he has shown on the ice could manifest into leadership. As well as he is an American, and having one as Captain would be nice in New York.

Scotty Hockey said...

Haha, you are the only one who caught that. I intentionally left out Dubi because I didn't want to jinx him (as I did Jed). I really think Dubi has the talent to be a better version of Jason Arnott and a captaincy could follow, once he finishes developing. He is still just a kid ...

Anonymous said...

Lol I was wondering, your sharp when it comes to the Rangers and I was thinking "Where is Dubi in all this????" Well dont he better work out because I dont want to know that I was the one who jinxed him. His play in World's, this pre-season hes just getting better and better. And I know hes a kid but its not like there is really much of an option.

Drury is too quiet for the role. Gomez I dont think has it for any type of leadership role, having that kind of pressure would hurt his game I believe. Naslund has looked decent so far but I dont think you can give the C without earning it with our team. I feel the same way about Redden, not to mention I cant say Ive enjoyed the way he has looked on the ice so far.

I remember during the summer you brought up the idea of giving Blair Betts the C. He might not have a dominating personality but he's a good guy and he's the most responsible player on this team on the ice if you ask me.