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 Endangered Species - NHL Team Captain

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
The 4th Line Banger Posted - 12/15/2008 : 13:46:05
By The 4th Line Banger

What is the deal with the NHL Captain these days?? For the most part, the team Captain has gone by the wayside, it being more of a media topic than an on and off ice leader. Letís not even get into the conversations on the ice with the officials. Vancouverís captain canít even do that!! There seems to be a trend in the NHL with teams picking these young superstars (or future stars) as their captains for no reason other than being the ďyoungest captain in team history.Ē Its bunk and those teams will pay for it in the long run.

No offense intended to the likes of Jonathan Toews, Dustin Brown, and yes, Sidney Crosby. But what could any of them say or do in the dressing room to get anything going?? Could Sid the Kid walk up to his keeper after letting in a softie and demand a better performance a la Mark Messier??? Could Jonathan Toews look down the bench in a tight game and instill confidence that the win is on the way with a simple ďLetís go get one boys,Ē a la Ray Bourque?? Can Dustin Brown go out and literally injury someone to rile up the team a la Bobby Clarke??? Can Rick Nash go out, take a stick in the face, fall down spraining his knee, and still find a way to set up a team mate for a goal, then go out for another shift and block a shot a la Stevie Y??

I donít think so.

And to that fact, itís not just the young kids as Captains; itís some of the vets too. Ethan Moreau is a lead by example kid of Captain, but where is he riding the Kid Line and demanding improvement?? Does Luongo ever stand up in the media as ďTeam CaptainĒ and say that even though he is hurt, he can still be active with the team and help them back to winning?? Where is Lecavalier anywhere taking any responsibility for the teamís performance??

Maybe the Banger is just too nostalgic, but it really seems like the team Captain has gone to the graveyard. It appears that there is a larger and larger group of teams with a rotating Captain. I guess thatís the best a team can do when they look down the bench and not see any leadership.

And I think this will be the down fall of many teams. Look back, literally the past 40 years, and find a single team that won the Cup without solid team leadership??? You will see that other than Boston in the early 70ís (who did not have a Captain) every single Cup winner had a guy as their Captain who was a great leader and had total respect of the entire dressing room. Plus, if you take a look at those Boston teams, any one of a number of players could have been Captain. Orr, Hodge, Bucyk, Esposito. Pick One.

Not to say that there are no good teams Captains left. Sakic is still around. Brind'Amour, Iginla, for the young guys Mike Richards. But, take a look at the list of Current team Captains and forgetting about your favorite teams Captain how many guys who are Captains today would you feel confident leading your team to the promised Land??

Not many at all is my guess.

SEASON TEAM Captain
1967-68 - Montreal Canadiens - Jean Beliveau
1968-69 - Montreal Canadiens - Jean Beliveau
1969-70 - Boston Bruins - NC
1970-71 - Montreal Canadiens - Jean Beliveau
1971-72 - Boston Bruins - NC
1972-73 - Montreal Canadiens - Henri Richard
1973-74 - Philadelphia Flyers - Bobby Clarke
1974-75 - Philadelphia Flyers - Bobby Clarke
1975-76 - Montreal Canadiens - Yvan Cournoyer
1976-77 - Montreal Canadiens - Yvan Cournoyer
1977-78 - Montreal Canadiens - Yvan Cournoyer
1978-79 - Montreal Canadiens - Yvan Cournoyer
1978-79 - Montreal Canadiens - Serge Savard
1979-80 - New York Islanders - Denis Potvin
1980-81 - New York Islanders - Denis Potvin
1981-82 - New York Islanders - Denis Potvin
1982-83 - New York Islanders - Denis Potvin
1983-84 - Edmonton Oilers - Wayne Gretzky
1984-85 - Edmonton Oilers - Wayne Gretzky
1985-86 - Montreal Canadiens - Bob Gainey
1986-87 - Edmonton Oilers - Wayne Gretzky
1987-88 - Edmonton Oilers - Wayne Gretzky
1988-89 - Calgary Flames - Lanny Mcdonald/Jim Peplinski
1989-90 - Edmonton Oilers - Mark Messier
1990-91 - Pittsburgh Penguins - Mario Lemieux
1991-92 - Pittsburgh Penguins - Mario Lemieux
1992-93 - Montreal Canadiens - Guy Carbonneau
1993-94 - New York Rangers - Mark Messier
1994-95 - New Jersey Devils - Scott Stevens
1995-96 - Colorado Avalanche - Joe Sakic
1996-97 - Detroit Red Wings - Steve Yzerman
1997-98 - Detroit Red Wings - Steve Yzerman
1998-99 - Dallas Stars - Derian Hatcher
1999-00 - New Jersey Devils - Scott Stevens
2000-01 - Colorado Avalanche - Joe Sakic
2001-02 - Detroit Red Wings - Steve Yzerman
2002-03 - New Jersey Devils - Scott Stevens
2003-04 - Tampa Bay Lightning - Dave Andreychuk
2005-06 - Carolina Hurricanes - Rod Brind'Amour
2006-07 - Anaheim Ducks - Scott Niedermayer
2007-08 - Detroit Red Wings - Nicklas Lidstrom

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