Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A ship needs a captain

by Anne

Dear San Jose Sharks:

Speaking as someone who endured an entire pitiful season of a captain-less team, it does not work.



In 2007-2008 the Buffalo Sabres had no captain. Yes, we had a rotating captaincy, but everyone who was slapped with the "C" seemed unwilling to take it and declared themselves, one after the other, to be "not the most vocal guy in the room." Not one person stated who was the most vocal guy in the room. Him? He probably should've been captain.

Then we got a captain who was selected basically because the rest of his teammates were eager to just NOT pick one of their previous teammates to assume the job. Therefore, by default, the new vet became captain.

Hopefully now that Craigory has been around for an entire season and is hopefully healthy, he and Mikey G can whip this team back into shape.

We fault management for having faith in this group of players and not bringing in any top-line talent, but maybe having legitimate leadership will at least push this team in the right direction.

Are the Buffalo Sabres going to win a Stanley Cup in 2010? Absolutely not. Anyone who thinks they will is kidding themselves. However, they need to establish that kind of consistent leadership presence. Name one team that's won a cup in recent years that didn't have a strong leader.

Say what you want about Crosby and his divisive personality, but in Pittsburgh and in Mellon Arena, he's a leader. He's not a captain for the ages quite yet but he's definitely numero uno in that dressing room by sheer work ethic alone.

I find nothing wrong with Marleau being stripped of his captaincy... if he deserves to have it taken away. I'm not saying that he does or doesn't, I don't know the team well enough to be able to comment on that. Vinny Lecavalier was stripped of his captaincy years ago because he was being a punk and not the type of leader his team needed. After a few years of wearing an A, he finally was given back his C at a point in his career where he made the commitment to the organization and the community. Commitment counts for a lot. Commitment to winning, to the organization, to his teammates.

Just putting a "C" on someone's chest doesn't make them a leader. You can slap a "C" on anyone but that doesn't make them a captain. Just like taking the "C" away from someone doesn't mean they will suddenly start acting like a bump on a log and not attempting to motivate their team.

There are many problems with declaring the San Jose Sharks have no captain. There could be resentment on Marleau's part (if he's not traded) over the last five years of service as captain being stripped away. If Marleau isn't traded and doesn't re-acquire his captaincy, it will be interesting to see who is named captain in his place. How will his long-time teammates react? Obviously they will respect their new captain, but where does that leave Patty Marleau? I'm sure he won't act any differently in the dressing room than he has for the last several years.

I hope the San Jose Sharks do not attempt this rotating captaincy business. Fans don't really like it and I can't imagine the players do either. It puts more emphasis on an external indicator of leadership. Real leaders lead regardless of a letter.

When the Sabres attempted a rotating leadership it didn't work because no one was willing to step up and have that pressure put on them. Then we got Craig Rivet and the job suited him just fine. When your team doesn't have that leader, another player shouldn't have it shoved upon him unwillingly. The San Jose Sharks have had consistent leadership and despite their consistent first-round departures in the playoffs, have had more success than many other NHL teams. They have that leadership, showing no faith in him doesn't send a good message to the rest of the team and the NHL.


  1. It still boggles my mind that (according to media outlets) the Sabres' dressing room has been very quiet a lot during the season. Are you kidding guys? I don't care if you grew up together, someone needs to grow some balls and discuss what the hell is going on sometimes.

    Not saying that a few guys don't do that already, I'm sure they do. I just wish that more than half of the team would follow suit is all.

  2. I agree Shelby! Grow a pair dammit!

    I do like Captain Craig for the Sabres but they do need the rest of the guys be accountable for themselves and for their actions on the ice. It's too easy to say 'we need to get with the system'. You are big boys now playing a big boy game now act like big boys and earn your contract.

  3. Can we have Rivs back please? since it seems we are now in need of a captain? :oD

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Glossary... Sort of

  • "Ryan Miller" Shutout - A 58 minute multi-goal shutout lead that is blown by Miller allowing one meaningless goal
  • Britney or SabreBritney - Thomas Vanek
  • Butter Snaps - Carolina Hurricanes
  • Craigory - Craig Rivet
  • Full Monty - Steve Montador
  • Greener - MATT Greene (LAK)
  • JBG - Jolly Blonde Giant - Tyler Myers
  • Little Foot - Drew Stafford
  • MK - Anne's sister; often leaves nonsensical comments under her Twitter name Mmmkizzle
  • Noodles - Derek Whitmore
  • Oscar - Anne's cat and STH's unofficial mascot
  • Parsley - Jimmy Bonneau
  • Sir Christopher - Chris Butler
  • Sissy - Jaroslav Spacek
  • Telly Monster - Mikael Tellqvist

Because It's Never not Funny

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