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Old
03-05-2007, 01:56 PM
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waffledave
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The Myths about being Captain

I read alot of posts here on this site about what people expect from Koivu as the captain of the Canadiens.

After a while, it gets pretty tiresome, especially seeing as the majority of people here are completely misguided in what the captain's role is on the team.

In a strictly rulebook context, the captain is simply there to represent the players to referees. The captain, and the alternate captains, are the only players who are technically allowed to talk to the refs when it comes to penalties and such. In practice this isn't always the case of course, but that's what it says in the rulebook.

From many of the posts here, it seems people expect the captain to be a guy who stands up in the locker room during intermissions and gives a rah-rah speech that is somehow supposed to motivate the team to do better.

Where does this thinking come from?

I have played many team sports in my life. I can tell you that a captain who gets up there every intermission and gives a rah-rah speech all the time is ignored. That kind of stuff doesn't motivate anyone, it just looks stupid. There are key moments where it does help, but for the most part it's rare.

The rah-rah speeches that have actually succeeded in motivating my teams do not come from the captain. They come from the coach. I never played in the NHL, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works there too.

The captain is expected to say a few words before the game. This much I know. But aside from "let's go out there, let's win this game, we can do it," there's not much else the captain can say without sounding corny. The captain is the captain ON the ice. The coach is the captain OFF the ice.

The coach is the guy who makes sure the players are in line and willing to give it their all. The best coaches in hockey are the ones that can do this, the ones that can motivate the unmotivated.

The captain is nothing more than an experienced, respected player. He helps the team in other ways. He helps the rookies feel more comfortable. He helps the younger guys fit into the major leagues. He offers his experience to the young guys and he helps them out on the ice. Players can look up to the captain, and many do.

Being the captain doesn't mean it's your sole responsibility to bring order to the team. If there are problems with the lockerroom, every single player is equally responsible to fix it. Having a C or an A on your sweater doesn't mean you're the only one allowed to talk. If something needs to be said, you don't keep it to yourself because you aren't "the captain."

There are lots of stories out there about captains doing miraculous things. Alot of them are just that: stories. Messier is often thought of as one of the best, but aside from his prediction, was he really that great of a leader? He was disliked by many of his teammates, and I seriously doubt they would go out and play real hard just because he yelled at them before the game.

In the end, I really think that the perception of what a captain should be doing is distorted by stories and myths passed down over the years. It's true that behind every great team, there is a great captain.

What some people forget is that behind every great captain is a great coach, and behind every great coach is a great team, with players that are already motivated with a desire to win.

Hockey is a team sport. It always has been. One great captain isn't going to fix anything if the rest of the team is rotten.

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03-05-2007, 01:59 PM
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Great post.
Agreed on all points.

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03-05-2007, 02:01 PM
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Disagree on all counts.

If we go by what you think, then anyone and everyone could be a C or an A, so long as they could speak english.

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03-05-2007, 02:02 PM
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A real captain doesn't always have to wear a C. In life, there are all sorts of leaders. You all know or are ourselves leaders. A leader is someone who will make other follow them. You don't have to talk louder than anybody or be the best on the ice, all you have to do is having a presence. You know, charisma. You all naturally follow and love people with charisma.

So, what is a great captain? Someone who can use this "charisma" to pump a group and to lead them to the good direction. Is Koivu a good captain? I don't know, I'm not in the dressing room. Would he inspire me and make me work harder based of what I know of him? Probably. Does he inspire and make his teammates work harder? We don't know.

A good captain will know what to do and when to do it. And people will listen and respect him because he won't exagerate and because he is charismatic and inspire respect.

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03-05-2007, 02:02 PM
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Well said, I'll repeat what I said in the other thread;

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Definitions in theory are rarely the same in practice, especially with such a subjective notion as leadership and captain.I'm pretty sure most of us here has played competitive sports in our lives and some in higher levels than others. And I think we can all agree than the respective captains that we've had were not what the media portrays them to be.

At best, they can give good speeches, is well-liked by everyone and keeps the atmosphere as cordial and light as possible. At worst, it's the team's best player who is a bit moody and doesn't communicate that well but is respected by everyone because of his skill. In my decade of pretty competitive sports career (soccer division 2, hockey midget AAA, DragonBoating top 10 team in Quebec and 20-30th in Canada), I've met some amazing athletes and leaders but guess what; they can't hold you by the hand and they sure as hell can't tell their teammates how to think and play. I mean the ego in a lockerroom is pretty crazy, imagine one where everyone is a millionaire and the adulation of thousands of fans at stake.

Koivu is gonna take some of the blame, which is fine. He is the main leader but management and coaching are gonna have to bear the brunt of the responsibility. The captain is the player's representative, the coach has to control his team.

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03-05-2007, 02:05 PM
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lol but don't you know that when Mark Messier opens his mouth, it makes all his teammates weep in self-disgust? Then they go out and play like 17 Mario Lemieux's and a couple Martin Brodeurs!

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03-05-2007, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
Disagree on all counts.

If we go by what you think, then anyone and everyone could be a C or an A, so long as they could speak english.
No, not just anyone. It has to be someone respected by the officials, by the league and by other players. It has to be someone with experience and someone with knowledge of the game and charisma so he can articulate everything to the officials.

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03-05-2007, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by waffledave View Post
No, not just anyone. It has to be someone respected by the officials, by the league and by other players. It has to be someone with experience and someone with knowledge of the game and charisma so he can articulate everything to the officials.
I still have to disagree. The better captains of the league were either;

A) People who would lead by example and could carry the team on their back (ex: Yzerman. I don't feel as though Koivu does every night).
B) People who could get the team roling and that would demand the best in everyone. Not only that but they could push themselves to the next level and take over a game single handedly (ex: Messier)

I think Koivu is an alright captain, but imo a guy like Souray or Rivet is more suited for the C.

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03-05-2007, 02:10 PM
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Good post Waffledave...I think the issue here, and it's the first time i've put Koivu's leadership in question since he became captain.

Koivu besides being the captain, is the team's highest paid player + supposed best player. And when the team needed him to step up the most, he not only failed to do so, but he uncharacteristically led the charge in the uninspired, undisciplined and unmotivated way the team was playing.

I can deal with the fact that Koivu is a guy who on a good year will get you about 65-70pts, but what i can't deal with is a team struggling with it's discipline, and then seeing your best player, highest paid player and captain, go out and time and time again take lazy penalties due to a lack of concentration and effort.

I've always admired Koivu and i've defended him his whole career as a Hab, however, THIS YEAR, not even, this second half...I find he's largely responsible for how the team has responded, and while it may seem unfair to criticize a player for a 30 or 40 games of a bad stretch, it is the burden a captain must sometimes bare.

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03-05-2007, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
I still have to disagree. The better captains of the league were either;

A) People who would lead by example and could carry the team on their back (ex: Yzerman. I don't feel as though Koivu does every night).
B) People who could get the team roling and that would demand the best in everyone. Not only that but they could push themselves to the next level and take over a game single handedly (ex: Messier)

I think Koivu is an alright captain, but imo a guy like Souray or Rivet is more suited for the C.
People followed Messier because he was the first one to kick his own ass and perform. If he would have spoken empty words and not acted, players would have laughed in his face. And NEVER EVER forget that both Messier and Yzerman were part of teams loaded with character and leadership, they were far from being a one man show.

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03-05-2007, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
I still have to disagree. The better captains of the league were either;

A) People who would lead by example and could carry the team on their back (ex: Yzerman. I don't feel as though Koivu does every night).
B) People who could get the team roling and that would demand the best in everyone. Not only that but they could push themselves to the next level and take over a game single handedly (ex: Messier)

I think Koivu is an alright captain, but imo a guy like Souray or Rivet is more suited for the C.
You're citing 2 guys who happen also to be hall of fame legends. You're also citing 2 guys that have taken alot of critizism for their leadership skills and strategies. Yzerman was considered a bad captain for years until he got a good coach and a good team behind him.

Messier, try as he might, could not motivate a team that had no desire. He was great when NY won the cup. Where was he all those years after that? Where was his leadership skill then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 417 View Post
Good post Waffledave...I think the issue here, and it's the first time i've put Koivu's leadership in question since he became captain.

Koivu besides being the captain, is the team's highest paid player + supposed best player. And when the team needed him to step up the most, he not only failed to do so, but he uncharacteristically led the charge in the uninspired, undisciplined and unmotivated way the team was playing.

I can deal with the fact that Koivu is a guy who on a good year will get you about 65-70pts, but what i can't deal with is a team struggling with it's discipline, and then seeing your best player, highest paid player and captain, go out and time and time again take lazy penalties due to a lack of concentration and effort.

I've always admired Koivu and i've defended him his whole career as a Hab, however, THIS YEAR, not even, this second half...I find he's largely responsible for how the team has responded, and while it may seem unfair to criticize a player for a 30 or 40 games of a bad stretch, it is the burden a captain must sometimes bare.
I'm not saying Koivu doesn't deserve some blame. At times, he has been a bad example, especially with the penalties.

Does he deserve some blame? Sure. That doesn't absolve the rest of the team and the rest of management from blame either. These guys are professionals, this is what they do for a living.

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03-05-2007, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DanyHeatley#1Fan View Post
People followed Messier because he was the first one to kick his own ass and perform. If he would have spoken empty words and not acted, players would have laughed in his face. And NEVER EVER forget that both Messier and Yzerman were part of teams loaded with character and leadership, they were far from being a one man show.
I wouldn't say that Yzerman's team was loaded with character and leadership. No more than our current team imo (exept for their latest stanley cup (01-02?)).

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03-05-2007, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waffledave View Post
You're citing 2 guys who happen also to be hall of fame legends. You're also citing 2 guys that have taken alot of critizism for their leadership skills and strategies. Yzerman was considered a bad captain for years until he got a good coach and a good team behind him.

Messier, try as he might, could not motivate a team that had no desire. He was great when NY won the cup. Where was he all those years after that? Where was his leadership skill then?
I won't argue with that. What I'm trying to get to is that, when their's a problem with the team (a huge slump as this one) the fans, the media, the players look to their Captain. It might be unjust to lay all of this on 1 person's shoulders...but it's what gets him the big bucks and why he gets the C of such a "prestigious" club. Koivu on any other team would not get 4.75m

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03-05-2007, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
I wouldn't say that Yzerman's team was loaded with character and leadership. No more than our current team imo (exept for their latest stanley cup (01-02?)).
Well, for starters, he had Bowman as a coach and players like Lidstrom, McCarthy, Draper, Maltby, Larionov and Shanahan for all the cups. If this isn't character, what is it? Early on, well, he was pretty much alone and they didn't won anything and he was, for a time, considered as a bad captain.

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03-05-2007, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DanyHeatley#1Fan View Post
Well, for starters, he had Bowman as a coach and players like Lidstrom, McCarthy, Draper, Maltby, Larionov and Shanahan for all the cups. If this isn't character, what is it? Early on, well, he was pretty much alone and they didn't won anything and he was, for a time, considered as a bad captain.
I said I didn't think they had more than we do, not that they didn't have any. The coach really made the difference though and definitely took a lot of the pressure off of Yzerman's shoulders.

I've read and heard so many stories about Bowman and how he dealt with players that didn't follow rules or that didn't do exactly as he said, the guy was without a doubt the best coach in NHL history (imo).

I do think that Saku could use a little help from a good coach or someone like Selanne

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03-05-2007, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
Disagree on all counts.

If we go by what you think, then anyone and everyone could be a C or an A, so long as they could speak english.
+1

Waffledave,most of the time, i think you are right.. but how come would you tell to habs fans that a captain is suppose to be a leader only ON the ice??


You are getting pathetic trying to excuse koivu's lack of leadership. I wish i would let you watch Tampa bay vs Calgary flames documentary that nhl network broadcoast every week. You can see how Dave Andreychuck was a great leader. During practices, he talked with rookies,giving them little tips and high fives, giving examples on how beat iginla on face-off, he really united the club. That's a leader must do, that's what a captain must do.

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03-05-2007, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Soldat Samsonov View Post
+1

Waffledave,most of the time, i think you are right.. but how come would you tell to habs fans that a captain is suppose to be a leader only ON the ice??


You are getting pathetic trying to excuse koivu's lack of leadership. I wish i would let you watch Tampa bay vs Calgary flames documentary that nhl network broadcoast every week. You can see how Dave Andreychuck was a great leader. During practices, he talked with rookies,giving them little tips and high fives, giving examples on how beat iginla on face-off, he really united the club. That's a leader must do, that's what a captain must do.
Huh? I think you need to read my post over again.

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03-05-2007, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldat Samsonov View Post
+1

Waffledave,most of the time, i think you are right.. but how come would you tell to habs fans that a captain is suppose to be a leader only ON the ice??


You are getting pathetic trying to excuse koivu's lack of leadership. I wish i would let you watch Tampa bay vs Calgary flames documentary that nhl network broadcoast every week. You can see how Dave Andreychuck was a great leader. During practices, he talked with rookies,giving them little tips and high fives, giving examples on how beat iginla on face-off, he really united the club. That's a leader must do, that's what a captain must do.
That isn't just what a leader must do, it is something that a real leader with charisma NATURALY does.

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03-05-2007, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
I said I didn't think they had more than we do, not that they didn't have any. The coach really made the difference though and definitely took a lot of the pressure off of Yzerman's shoulders.

I've read and heard so many stories about Bowman and how he dealt with players that didn't follow rules or that didn't do exactly as he said, the guy was without a doubt the best coach in NHL history (imo).

I do think that Saku could use a little help from a good coach or someone like Selanne
On this, I agree completely. Bowman made a HUGE difference. But like Kovalev said in his interview (ok, ma yeule) the coach needs to be part of the team. And yes Saku could use some help.

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03-05-2007, 03:00 PM
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I could write an essay on what I think it means to wear the C, but I choose not to.

I played competative hockey for about 9 years for a couple different teams. I was Captain of every one of them except the first year. Teams I played on were always extremely successful. Missed out on the finals maybe twice, of whatever league I was in. 3 times I joined a new team on which I either new nobody on the team or maybe 1 or 2 guys. And all 3 times I was voted Captain by my teammates after the first couple weeks. And you will never find a more quiet person in the dressing room than me. I'm not gloating or anything, just trying to point out that wearing the C has NOTHING to do with giving speeches, calling guys out, giving high-fives or any of that stuff. That's cheerleader stuff, nothing to do with wearing the C. Nothing.

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03-05-2007, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Slip Slidin' Slim View Post
I could write an essay on what I think it means to wear the C, but I choose not to.

I played competative hockey for about 9 years for a couple different teams. I was Captain of every one of them except the first year. Teams I played on were always extremely successful. Missed out on the finals maybe twice, of whatever league I was in. 3 times I joined a new team on which I either new nobody on the team or maybe 1 or 2 guys. And all 3 times I was voted Captain by my teammates after the first couple weeks. And you will never find a more quiet person in the dressing room than me. I'm not gloating or anything, just trying to point out that wearing the C has NOTHING to do with giving speeches, calling guys out, giving high-fives or any of that stuff. That's cheerleader stuff, nothing to do with wearing the C. Nothing.
That's not necessarily true...different teams need different types of captains.

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03-05-2007, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 417 View Post
That's not necessarily true...different teams need different types of captains.
You can be a great leader and great team guy and never be suited to wearing the C.

You don't even have to like your Captain. He doesn't have to say anything. You just look at him and know he's going to lead you into battle and you have to play your part.

(very simplified explanation.)

-Being a great leader and being "The Captain" are two very different things, IMO.


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03-05-2007, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Shabutie View Post
I still have to disagree. The better captains of the league were either;

A) People who would lead by example and could carry the team on their back (ex: Yzerman. I don't feel as though Koivu does every night).
B) People who could get the team roling and that would demand the best in everyone. Not only that but they could push themselves to the next level and take over a game single handedly (ex: Messier)

I think Koivu is an alright captain, but imo a guy like Souray or Rivet is more suited for the C.
i fully agree, Koivu is not a suited captain for this team, I don't see him at all getting the team motivated or even fired up when the team needs it most.

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03-05-2007, 03:13 PM
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i fully agree, Koivu is not a suited captain for this team, I don't see him at all getting the team motivated or even fired up when the team needs it most.
Wowowow, I never said Koivu wasn't suited to be a captain. I said that I thought Souray or Rivet would be better suited.

I'm fine with having Koivu as our captain.

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03-05-2007, 03:14 PM
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i fully agree, Koivu is not a suited captain for this team, I don't see him at all getting the team motivated or even fired up when the team needs it most.
This is such a false statement. Does no one remember him calling out the team when were down against TO and she scored two goals in the third to win the game for us? He owned it but guess what it doesn't work everytime. Just because you raise your voice, it doesn't the team's play raises too. This isn't some magical formulas, sure you can get pumped up and momentum is important in sports. But fundamentals, systems are what makes and breaks a team.

Slip is right, I hated my Captain in one of my teams. Me and him, we just rubbed each other the wrong way. But he had my back on the ice and that's all that mattered.

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