Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Vancouver Canucks enter another training camp with questions to be answered and the biggest of which dominated Day 1 was that of the captaincy.
Several off-season reports indicated that Willie Mitchell would soon be taking the reigns however, there is an argument to such speculation that indicates the Mitchell and coach Alain Vigneault don't really see eye to eye.
Other names that have been suggested are that of Ryan Kesler, Mattias Ohlund or Kevin Bieksa.
Ohlund, the elder statesman amongst the group as well as the longest serving Canuck on the current roster, may be a logical choice. However, taking into consideration the current contract status of the veteran D-man you may want to reconsider your thinking. Does Mike Gillis actually intend on re-signing him?
Kesler and Bieska both fall into the category of 'potential future' captains. Both exude the confidence and charisma of a captain and both carry an edge to their game that the previous captain seriously lacked. With that said both are young and will provide excellent leadership to this team down the road but it is probably best that they develop themselves a little further.
Although age is never really a factor in these decisions (see: Crosby captain at 19 yrs old) it is something that should be carefully considered.
As previously mentioned you may want to consider length or service and or length of their current contracts. Ohlund has had the longest tour of duty by a country-mile but also carries the shortest contract. Kesler and Mitchell are both signed through the end of the 09-10 season while Bieksa will not become a free agent until 2010-11.
With so many changes this past off-season and many more to come before this team is 'solidified' it may be best to give the captaincy to the youth of the organization. Can Mike Gillis build his team around Kesler and Bieksa? remains to be seen.
Bieksa is consistently rumored to be leaving Vancouver while Kesler attempted to leave 2 seasons ago.
Leadership is something that a team develops as they build together and the teams identity is established. Championship teams such as Detroit ooze with leadership and while captains may receive the press, at the end of the day it is the attitude in the room that brings home the championships.