“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.



9 Responses to ““C” You Later?”

  1. GN:

    In neither case did we hear anything about the Captaincy until after the player had moved on but Chara had split the room Havlat and the Euros (excepting Alfie) and Heatley was about to!!

  2. Very interesting. Since Sharks fans are currently curious about who our next captain will be, I wonder what rough percentage of players really want that role? As someone with zero interest in any leadership role, I imagine that most players would just as soon not be captain, but then they are all in a highly competitive profession so probably there are more who do want that role than than don’t. It seems like such a specific skill set, pretty much unrelated to hockey playing ability, that I absolutely agree with your take on it. If a really good captain is also the most talented player, that would be coincidence at best, not cause and effect.

  3. Dazillion Says:

    Mike Fisher seems to be the wonderkind of this franchise from the management point of view, and at least to me, looks like the heir apparent to Alfie. He’s a “heart and soul” guy, good community cuy, etc., etc.

    I wonder if perhaps it isn’t that these players weren’t ready to wait for Alfie to retire, but looked into the future and saw this as Fisher’s team. If captaincy was important and they saw Fisher as next in line that might lead them to conclude that such a role wasn’t open to them and that they’d never be more than parts.

  4. My vote goes for phillips or spezza.

  5. It is well known or should be by now, that Chara wanted the “C” immediately, and also want to be highest paid guy in the room. Couldn’t get it in Ottawa, and got it immediately in Boston as a UFA. Hmmm… NO secret, and especially since Yorkie has exposed it numerous times on team1200.

    Heatley. It is not surprising to me that his ultimate goal was supplanted by the fact that Aflie would retire as Captain before he relinquished it> It makes sense, since he left for “hockey reasons”, and he publicly let it be known he wanted more responsibility hockey wise, and the “a” was not enough (‘a’ in small caps on purpose).

    Impatience does not breed good leadership qualities in my opinion. They certainly weren’t loyal.

    Clearly guys I would rather not have.

    Would rather like to have guys like Spezza who want to be part of the solution in Ottawa!


  6. Don’t forget, we made it to the finals without Chara and he looked like a pilon against Buffalo in the playoff series the year before. As good as either player was, its still a team sport. ’nuff said.

  7. Differing Opinion Says:

    I’m not convinced Spezza is the right choice as captain.
    When I look at a captain, I see a guy that represents the team on and off the ice. Spezza, to me, looks like he has some growing up to do. Please don’t point to the fact that he’s reproduced as all sorts of people do that without being emotionally ready for it.

    I dunno, I picture a close playoff series and I don’t see Spezza skating back to his zone to cut off a 2 on 1, or putting his face in front of a shot, or doing a clever little interference play to stop an opposing offensive rush. Not to mention, can you imagine he bursts out giggling at a crucial point or interview? It would look so bad if he did that.

    Fisher, to me, exemplifies the Senators. He’s classy, he’s not the most skilled guy but his head is together, he has a quiet demeanour and he takes the game and life seriously. He has a rock-solid work ethic and has a ton of veteran experience.

    It’s the team’s choice, of course, but I don’t know if you can go to war with Spezza. I know you can with Fisher.


    Grain of salt on anything Yorkie says. The guy is a Senators mouthpiece; I’d like to get confirmation by other sources that this happened before I believe anything Jason York says.

    • Spezza is not Captain material, yet, if ever.
      Trust me, you don’t get named captain, before playing a single game, out of the blue. Yes Beef’s a bit of a homer, but he isn’t about to make something up, for little or no reason.

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