“C” You Later?
In the absence of any news, I thought I’d just ramble…
The other day I was pondering about the exodus of 2 key players from the Sens, and the impact they’re leaving has had on the team.
Zdeno Chara – Since the parting of ways between the Sens and Chara, the Sens have been in need of a legitimate #1 defenseman. His leaving has shown how incredibly difficult it is to replace elite skill, and how important it is to manage roster depth. The fact is, elite skill is all but irreplaceable, and GM’s must do whatever they can to identify these key players, and sign them prior to their going to UFA status.
Dany Heatley – I’m not even going to get into this guys attitude, that’s a whole other story (we’ve all moved on from), but the fact remains he was signed with a strategic plan to have his skill set locked up longterm. His (skill set) leaving has left the Sens in a very bad position.
2 elite players gone, two big holes in the line-up.
But there’s more to this. Many reports have it that both players left, at least in part, due to not having a shot at the “C”. Whether they’re captain material or not, is not germain. The fact that they left, due to this reason, is the point.
In todays NHL, where elite players are fawned over, have they lost the team spirit?
Is it reasonable for an elite player to expect a captaincy, because of their elite hockey skill?
I don’t have an answer to these questions, and surely, the character of these two players are so vastly different, that combining their motives in exploring this question only muddies the water, but all the same it makes one wonder about the team cost of having more than one elite player on a roster.
I maintain Chara should have been re-signed, but I’ll also admit to not being upset when Redden was kept ahead of him. Chara had been a post season flop 2 years running, and had been a victim of the early crack down on obstruction, often being penalized simply for being big. But now, hindsight being 20/20, Chara would look great in a Sens sweater, and would probably be poised to assume the captaincy. I would even argue, after a couple more years of tutelage under Alfie, he’d be a better captain for having delayed his ascension.
In Dany’s case, I doubt he’ll ever (or should ever) make captain, and chasing that particular dream probably did more to hurt his career than the Sens performance…but like I said, that’s an old story.
I believe the captaincy is a critical role on a team, and I do not believe it is a role best filled by the most skilled player. The role should be filled by a player who has the respect of his teammates, his coach, GM and importantly, the officials. Turning the captaincy into a negotiating point, thus making it a token title is, in my opinion, detrimental to the team. It screams individual over team.
This title/role needs to be earned, and respected, by all involved. It should be made clear to all prospects, from the beginning, that the title/role is not up for grabs, it has to be earned, over time, and like any good team player, personal ambitions should not be put ahead of team performance.
But in this era, with everyone telling you how great you are, I fear this concept is becoming a very hard sell.