Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oh Captain, Our Captain

Two blogs in two days? No, you're not dreaming; I just have very little work this weekend.

Our final preseason game is tomorrow and will be telecast on MSG. I will most likely be running between our downstairs TV to watch this and our upstairs TV, which still has rabbit ears, to watch the Bills game. I'm not very happy with this whole Time Warner vs. Channel 4 thing; of course this has to happen when the Bills are actually good.

Since this is the final preseason contest, the decision from Lindy on our always interesting captaincy situation should be revealed within the next week (at least we should know by Friday).

Lately, I've been softening my stance towards the rotating captaincy. I guess if the players all buy into it it can be a sign of the depth of leadership in the dressing room. Really, I'm just saying this because it's what Craig Rivet said in his latest interview, and I'm too scared of him to disagree with him. However, I still think that it is important to present a strong, unified front under one leader. Plus, we have two additions on our blueline (if you can call Teppo an addition) specifically noted for their leadership abilities. If none of our core boys can step it up, then one of these two would be more than competent to wear the "C."

So, here's my question to you, loyal readers: Supposing that we finally decide on one fearless leader, who should it be?

Vancouver decided to name Roberto Luongo captain even though a goalie is not allowed to wear a "C" on his jersey. We all know that Ryan Miller is one of our most prominent leaders and basically the face of our franchise. Last year, though, he admitted that his game slipped when he tried too hard to be a vocal locker room presence. This is why, as much as I love Ryan, I know that we could never do what the Canucks did. He's got too much on his plate as it is.

I set up a poll this week for you to tell me who is our best option to wear the "C":

1.) Jason Pominville - He did such a great job last season, picking up his game when he was captain. He is genuinely loved by his teammates, fans, and the media alike. Has he grown confident enough on and off the ice to be captain permanently?

2.) Derek Roy - Roy was captain of the Kitchener Rangers when they won the Memorial Cup. He is used in all facets of the game and seems to excel in them all as well. He plays well under pressure and is another valued member of the core. Is he mature enough now to carry his on-ice prowess off the ice as well?

3.) Teppo Numminen - This is what Teppo was brought back for, to lead our group of wandering misfits. His calmness on the ice and on the bench was sorely missing last season, and I still think having him for a full year would have led to a playoff spot. He also proved that he is a true Sabre at heart by signing here after all the drama that was last season had come and gone. Would it be right, though, to give the "C" to someone who won't be playing with us much longer?

4.) Jochen Hecht - Jochen wore a letter every month last season, if I remember correctly (feel free to let me know if I'm wrong). This shows that both the players and coaches value his leadership. He leads by example, letting his steady play do the talking, which sounds a lot like another captain that I shall not name...Is he vocal enough to take the "C" and keep it for good this year?

5.) Craig Rivet - The influence Rivet has had on this team already is amazing. I know it's only the preseason, but these boys are playing more physically than they did for most of the last two years. Mike Weber has already turned into a mini-Craig in how he's sticking up for his goalie. He was known in San Jose for being a true leader and a strong character guy, which we are already getting early glimpses of. He also has no problems talking with the press, and all of his interviews are intelligent and well-delivered. Can he be the best leader for a team he joined only a few months ago?

6.) Paul Gaustad - I know he's hurt. I know he never wore a letter last season. I know he has to pick up his own game before he can focus on defined leadership roles; Lindy said that himself last season. I also know, however, that Paul Hamilton on WGR550 feels that he is the best candidate for the job, and he spends more time with them than I ever will. Goose is another face of the organization. His charity work is amazing, and he is always willing to give a good interview. His play is centered around his work ethic and ability to come to the aid of his teammates. If that isn't leadership, than I don't know what is. Can someone who never wore a letter in "musical captains" really be the permanent "C" this season, though?

My personal choice is... complicated. I would love nothing more than to be able to put a "C' on my #28 jersey, but I know that probably won't happen, though I'm still not totally sure why. I think Teppo is our best choice right now, but I also think we need someone who is going to stick around with these guys for a while. This is why I think Jason Pominville should be our captain. He is a member of the core who has close ties to the team and the city. He had to fight his way to the NHL through hard work, and he has all the class that a captain should have.

However, if I found out that Craig Rivet was picked, I would be nothing but thrilled as well. I'm pretty infatuated with him right now, and his dreamy mucking and grinding has clouded my judgement.

Who's your pick? Feel free to comment and tell me why, too!


Shelby Rose said...

I stared at the poll long and hard before I came down to two candidates - Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad. Jason Pominville was a great captain for us at the end of last year, but I just feel like there are better choices. Nothing against him...but even if he does get the 'C', then I won't mind.
With Teppo, I can't see him wearing the 'C'. I have no doubt that he'll end up getting an 'A', though. Craig Rivet is the same deal, except I don't think we should throw a 'C' on a guy who just got here, no matter how his leadership qualities are. You don't need a letter to be a leader, anyways!

Between Derek and Goose, I chose Derek. He's been maturing a lot since he's been a part of the Sabres, and as you mentioned, he has the experience of being a leader with the Kitchener Rangers. He also handles the media pretty well.
I know I would love to see Paul Gaustad wear a 'C' someday because of his growing leadership like qualities and all the charity work he does. You can even slap an 'A' on him. Like Craig Rivet though, I don't think he needs a letter to be a leader. I don't think any of the guys do actually.

Katie said...

Great argument for Derek, Shelby! He's grown up a lot from the whiny little boy on the Sabres to the scoring-machine man that he is now (even if he does make questionable fashion choices).

I don't think he needs a letter to be a leader. I don't think any of the guys do actually.

I couldn't agree more! They've been around each other so long that I expect that if anyone has anything to say, he can just say it.

dani said...

Derek Roy also never broke the Memorial Cup in half which shows really sweet leadership skills. :)

Katie said...

Dani, I think it takes a true leader to keep a trophy in one piece. Although knowing Royzie, he was probably holding it so tight because he was using it as a mirror. ;)