Of all the things that we as fans can analyze about a team, I think the “leadership” issue is probably the one we understand the least. To fully grasp the complex and delicate makeup of the locker room we would need to have personal, first hand knowledge of how the team relates to one another. We as fans do NOT have that personal knowledge. We just don’t. Neither do reporters.
I love Lindy Ruff, but there are lots of times when I feel justified in questioning his choices. Questioning the coaching is one of the fundamental rights of fandom. It’s great fun to squawk about how Andrew Peters should be fired (because he should), and how Max should be whipped with chains until he stops putting everyone offside (because it’s not that hard to skate in a straight line), and how Staffy should be encouraged to eat more brains if that’s what he requires in order to stop sucking (because it’d be great if he didn’t suck all year), but when it comes to the captaincy issue I am perfectly happy to be all, “I trust Lindy.”
I’m willing to entertain all types of theories about who should get the C, but the one thing I absolutely refuse to entertain is that anyone outside of that locker room has the slightest idea of what’s best for the team.
Take Goose for example. We fans have anointed Paul Gaustad as the next great leader, but what if Goose is just a quiet guy? What if Goose gets stressed out easily and he’s got his hands full just trying to be the best third/fourth liner he can be? Just because we fans think Goose seems “leader-y” doesn’t make it true; and just because we fans really love the concept of the C, doesn’t mean that it’s an actual indicator of effective leadership.
My feeling is that one of three things is happening:
1. There is still no clear leader on the team. If this is the case then I think Lindy is right to continue searching for the correct captain.
2. There is a clear leader but he doesn’t require a C on his jersey to lead, and Lindy thinks the rotating letters are a genuinely useful tool to motivate certain (younger, slag-faced whore-ier) members of the team. Does an actual leader really care that much about a C-shaped piece of fabric on his chest?
3. Lindy is toying with our emotions for sport, and a captain will be named before opening night. This is where I’d put my money if I were a betting man. This would also be kind of hilarious and badass which are two qualities that I think Lindy has in spades.
Look, I want a Chris Drury-style captain too, but Chris Drury moved to New York and became the captain of the boring-est team in hockey, and he’s never coming back, and slapping a C on someone won’t turn him into Chris Drury.
Allow me to demonstrate:
She still refuses to be defensively responsible with the puck in her own end.
If Chris Neil ran at her head I would applaud his gumption. I would not fight him.
The next time Lindy puts Andrew Peters on the ice in a non-fighting situation I’ll call for his head, like I always do, but I completely trust him to handle the captaincy issue correctly. I believe that eventually there will be a permanent C awarded this season, but if there isn’t it’s not the end of the world.
If Lindy doesn’t find the right guy for the job, it’s because the job just isn’t as important as we would like to believe.