Written by: Larry “The ‘Nucks IceMan” Johnson
Much has been written and debated about the Canucks Roberto Luongo having been made the Captain back in September of 2008. Hockey writers and commentators have presented varying degrees of arguments why he should or should not be wearing the “C.”
I was listening to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet the other day, as he brought up a very valid point in relation to the captains currently playing for the Stanley Cup.
During their discussion the question of who would you rather have speaking up in this time of leadership, Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews or a goaltender?
The consensus was that Richards or Toews because of their leadership and actions on the ice, and how can a goaltender lead just by making a save, when in fact that is what a goaltender is supposed to do.
He had a point that leads into the other problem of leadership, and that has to do with a goaltender that is having a sub-par game, or a sub-par year.
How can he stand up in the dressing room and garner the respect of his teammates when he is not leading by example in goal?
Ah yes I can see it coming — the stats, since it has been pointed out to me that Luongo has had xxx number of wins, save percentage, goals against average, etc which rates in the top xxx this season and over the last 4 seasons has been a total of xxx.
Let me counter that with the fact that he has also played on a very good team.
The first squad when he arrived in 2006 may have not been loaded with today’s talent, but compensated by playing tight defensive hockey, eliminating grade A scoring chances and had very respectful penalty kill (third).
Since then, the Canucks have progressively improved to the point that they can now usually outscore their opposition with adequate goaltending.
My point here is that a goaltender is not a position where the captaincy should reside.
Sure he can be and by all media reports, is a leader in the dressing room, but since Luongo is not allowed to wear the letter or question the officials about calls on ice, what is the point in the “C?”
There was a time back in 1997 when Mark Messier was signed by the Canucks, who at that time already had a captain by the name of Trevor Linden.
Before the start of the season, Linden went to management and made a suggestion that he give up his captaincy to Messier, which is what took place.
Linden set aside his ego to do what he believed was best for the team.
The Canucks management should not have to go to Luongo to discuss the merits of him remaining on as the Captain. It should be obvious by now that this was a decision that didn’t pan out.
Lou should do the right thing and make the suggestion to management that it would be better for a skater to be a Captain.
It is tough enough position to play, without trying to carrying the captaincy responsibility — all at the same time.
My thought about a Captain would be someone who has that work ethic, determination to win, hates to lose attitude, plays with an edge, and has the identity that you want your team to emulate.
A worthy candidate from last year’s team would be Ryan Kessler.
Filed under: Vancouver Canucks