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03-01-2006, 08:17 AM
  #1
mcphee
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Captains of the CH

I think we're all big boys and girls and can avoid defending or slamming our favorite or least favorite players of Finnish and Portuguese heritage.

Bill and I were talking baout therole of wearing the C and how it's been perceived historically. I was trying to make a point the other day about how for the most part, inspirational speeches were reserved for teh movies or Ron McLeans' imagination.

The captain's original role was to be a link between the coach,management and the players. Further, the captain and his alternates[not asst. like we always say], had the right to discuss matters with the refs.

Teams need internal leadership, and it's a gm's role to make sure that his team has the right mix of personalities. A team needs some comedey to break tension, it needs a lot of personal qualities, but it isn't the C' s role specifically. Teams usually have a group of veteran players who address matters.

Going back to the 50's teams, the Rocket wore the C. I've never heard that he was a very vocal person. I don't think there's much I could post to educate anyone about the Rocket. He captained the 5 cups in a row team. Honestly, if Jean Guy Talbot wore the letter, they would have won 5. Doug Harvey followed him[1 year] until they dumped him because of his union involvement. He was as respected as the Rocket, though. Feel free to look at the captaincy of anyone who's worn the letter and evaluate. Did teams win because of their leadership ?

Should your best player wear the C ? What do you want in a captain ?

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03-01-2006, 08:21 AM
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Gros Bill
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Just copied this from the other thread.

Good question, one I do believe deserves a thread of its own, although I suspect it would quickly degenerate into the usual bickering (hey, maybe it won't!). It seems many people want the captain to be the team's best player, but why should it be ? Lafleur was never captain (was he?) and Henri Richard was never our best player. BTW, Henri was with the team 20 seasons, yet became captain only in the twilight of his career (3 or 4 seasons, I think). In a way, in Montréal, a captain is like a coach : too much credit when they win, too much blame when they lose.

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03-01-2006, 08:31 AM
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Well I think its a mix of intelligence (on and off the ice), work ethic and skills.

Example: Lindros works hard, is very skilled, but is a complete meathead.


I'll break down these 3 qualities.

Intelligence:

-good speaker to the press;
-seldom takes bad penalties;

Work ethic:
-second effort on the ice;
-goes hard in practices;
-community involvement;

skills:

-pretty self explanitory I guess, but they pertain to on ice skills only; mad skillz at Halo need not apply

 
Old
03-01-2006, 08:40 AM
  #4
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A captain ought to be good. He needn't be THE best, but he has to better than most. He won't get respect if he can't keep up with his hockey skills. IMO, he needs skill to be a leader on the ice. If you're not good, how can you initiate a turn around in a match? A captain has to have the will and the skill to lead the way to a win or at least to make the team go down fighting, whatever the score.

It's also important that a captain has support in the team. That he is liked or at least respected by the other players. If a captain doesn't have that support, there will always be dogfights about everything, because not every player will stay professional and put his own ego aside for the good of team.

A captain must be willing to communicate with the other players. How else should he fulfill the role as a link between the coach and the players?

It goes without saying, really, that a captain should also be an experienced player.

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03-01-2006, 08:49 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lordchezz
Well I think its a mix of intelligence (on and off the ice), work ethic and skills.

Example: Lindros works hard, is very skilled, but is a complete meathead.


I'll break down these 3 qualities.

Intelligence:

-"good speaker to the press;"
-seldom takes bad penalties;

Work ethic:
-second effort on the ice;
-goes hard in practices;
-community involvement;

skills:

-pretty self explanitory I guess, but they pertain to on ice skills only; mad skillz at Halo need not apply
You're right on this one, though it's become more of an aspect since the media has grown. Language aside, it's a separate issue, our present guy isn't a good quote and frankly, for whatever reason, may not understand this. Damphoussse was a guy who had a lot of patience with the media. It's hard to evaluate past guys in this regard because it was different. There were less levels of competing media, and it wasn't as personal as today. I can't imagine Henri Richard facing the criticism that our present guy takes, though I've always thought they had a lot in common.

I suspect that Gainey and Savard were similar captains. They didn't force their personalities but they had a presence to them.

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03-01-2006, 09:36 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Going back to the 50's teams, the Rocket wore the C. I've never heard that he was a very vocal person. I don't think there's much I could post to educate anyone about the Rocket. He captained the 5 cups in a row team. Honestly, if Jean Guy Talbot wore the letter, they would have won 5. Doug Harvey followed him[1 year] until they dumped him because of his union involvement. He was as respected as the Rocket, though. Feel free to look at the captaincy of anyone who's worn the letter and evaluate. Did teams win because of their leadership ?

Should your best player wear the C ? What do you want in a captain ?
Using your example of the teams in the 50's (which i have somewhat limited knowledge/understanding of) compared to more recent Habs teams, i think that the role of captain will vary according to the team you have in place. You make the point that anyone could have worn the C in the 5 cup run and still had that success which i see as a testament to the skill level and experience of the team as a whole. It didn't matter who was captain for the most part because almost everyone could compete at the highest level and had skill and experience to back them up in any situation. I think with more recent teams, using Saku led habs as an example, you have to pick a captain more carefully. He had been with the team for a while before becoming captain, he knew everyone in the room fairly well (i would imagine) and he had the skill and work ethic that other players could look up to. Right now, we have a young team and experience of the game at a high level is not something we have in a lot of players so having a captain with experience of the game at the highest professional and international levels makes sense in regard to setting an example from which younger players can learn. Communication is an aspect I won't touch on too heavily, obviously you dont want a guy who will say whatever first comes to mind. In personal interviews it may be good for a few quotes but you obviously dont want such a person commenting on sensitive issues which affect the reputation of a club. I think with Saku (as current example), managment has a guy who they know and understand the ways in which he interacts with the press (learnt over time) so they don't have that to worry about as well as a guy who holds a decent amount of respect from his teammates to be able to communicate with and for them (when needed) on and off the ice.

Overall, i suppose it depends on what condition the team as a whole is in, what management wants from a captain and if a teams management has the ability to accurately select a guy to do the job they want or not. It doesn't need to be a teams best player, but someone everyone at a team has belief in to do the right thing in any given situation.

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03-01-2006, 09:53 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qui Gon Dave
Using your example of the teams in the 50's (which i have somewhat limited knowledge/understanding of) compared to more recent Habs teams, i think that the role of captain will vary according to the team you have in place. You make the point that anyone could have worn the C in the 5 cup run and still had that success which i see as a testament to the skill level and experience of the team as a whole. It didn't matter who was captain for the most part because almost everyone could compete at the highest level and had skill and experience to back them up in any situation. I think with more recent teams, using Saku led habs as an example, you have to pick a captain more carefully. He had been with the team for a while before becoming captain, he knew everyone in the room fairly well (i would imagine) and he had the skill and work ethic that other players could look up to. Right now, we have a young team and experience of the game at a high level is not something we have in a lot of players so having a captain with experience of the game at the highest professional and international levels makes sense in regard to setting an example from which younger players can learn. Communication is an aspect I won't touch on too heavily, obviously you dont want a guy who will say whatever first comes to mind. In personal interviews it may be good for a few quotes but you obviously dont want such a person commenting on sensitive issues which affect the reputation of a club. I think with Saku (as current example), managment has a guy who they know and understand the ways in which he interacts with the press (learnt over time) so they don't have that to worry about as well as a guy who holds a decent amount of respect from his teammates to be able to communicate with and for them (when needed) on and off the ice.

Overall, i suppose it depends on what condition the team as a whole is in, what management wants from a captain and if a teams management has the ability to accurately select a guy to do the job they want or not. It doesn't need to be a teams best player, but someone everyone at a team has belief in to do the right thing in any given situation.
The Rocket was captain for 4 seasons, 1956-7 to 59-60. Butch Bouchard was captain for the other 6 years of the 1950s, including the Cup wins of '53 and '56. Bouchard wasn't the best Dman on the Habs during those seasons (Doug Harvey was).

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03-01-2006, 09:58 AM
  #8
Blind Gardien
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With so many different teams and so many interpretations on the role/persona of captain, I wonder if it really has any relevance anymore. Do the teams which rotate the captaincy suffer? Do teams which name 20-year old kids the captain really suffer? Or teams which pick Pierre Turgeon or Alexei Yashin or whoever, just because they are perceived by some as the best player?

Honestly, I think the whole idea of the captaincy may be redundant in the modern hockey world. Every player has an agent who speaks for him to management. The team has a union rep. The rulebook still indicates that only the captain and his alternates are supposed to talk to the referree, but in practise I'm not sure if even that is really strictly adhered to either.

So really, I'm thinking the captaincy has two remaining elements:
1. maintaining public mythology and for marketing purposes
2. a bit of minor personal recognition for some individual players for the good job they do on the team

And I don't think any of it matters one bit in terms of how successful a team is on the ice. You could strip all the letters off all the jerseys in the league, you could make Ribeiro or Crosby or Sean Avery your captains, you could hold a random draw and make one lucky fan the titular captain of the team for a year, and IMHO none of it would alter the chemistry or on-ice performance of a team.

But it all makes for a nice story and source for debate on slow news days, I guess. When I own an NHL team, I think I'm going to eliminate the captaincy. Just for fun.

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03-01-2006, 10:05 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teufelsdreck
The Rocket was captain for 4 seasons, 1956-7 to 59-60. Butch Bouchard was captain for the other 6 years of the 1950s, including the Cup wins of '53 and '56. Bouchard wasn't the best Dman on the Habs during those seasons (Doug Harvey was).
Looking back, you sort of assume that it was just a transition to whoever's 'time' it was. You measure seniority against talent and reputation. If I remember correctly, there wasn't universal acceptance of Gainey being named captain after Serge Savard. Robinson was around, Lafleur hadn't yet retired, I believe.

I loked up Bouchard's stats after I read your post. 6'2", 205. For the era, that's a big man.

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03-01-2006, 10:10 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind Gardien
With so many different teams and so many interpretations on the role/persona of captain, I wonder if it really has any relevance anymore. Do the teams which rotate the captaincy suffer? Do teams which name 20-year old kids the captain really suffer? Or teams which pick Pierre Turgeon or Alexei Yashin or whoever, just because they are perceived by some as the best player?

Honestly, I think the whole idea of the captaincy may be redundant in the modern hockey world. Every player has an agent who speaks for him to management. The team has a union rep. The rulebook still indicates that only the captain and his alternates are supposed to talk to the referree, but in practise I'm not sure if even that is really strictly adhered to either.

So really, I'm thinking the captaincy has two remaining elements:
1. maintaining public mythology and for marketing purposes
2. a bit of minor personal recognition for some individual players for the good job they do on the team

And I don't think any of it matters one bit in terms of how successful a team is on the ice. You could strip all the letters off all the jerseys in the league, you could make Ribeiro or Crosby or Sean Avery your captains, you could hold a random draw and make one lucky fan the titular captain of the team for a year, and IMHO none of it would alter the chemistry or on-ice performance of a team.

But it all makes for a nice story and source for debate on slow news days, I guess. When I own an NHL team, I think I'm going to eliminate the captaincy. Just for fun.
Good point about players having agents. If they had an issue with managemnet in the 50's or 60's, Don Meehan or Gilles Lupien wasn't going to speak for you. it's more of a status thing in Montreal because of the rich history and the perception of torch passing from Richard to Harvey to Beliveau to Richard. it's nice history and is better reading than the rich history of let's say, Sabre captains, but I agree, it becomes less relevant. Teams need leadership and certain elements, and it's up to a gm and coach to see that their team has the elements needed.

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03-01-2006, 10:52 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
The captain's original role was to be a link between the coach,management and the players. Further, the captain and his alternates[not asst. like we always say], had the right to discuss matters with the refs.
This is exactly captain's role here in Finland and of course to be an example. He's not expected to a one man army, make magic tricks when things go wrong etc. In that situation fans, press etc. put pressure first on coach, then management. If it's clear that team lack motivation fans might boycott a game or two, but *never question/target one single player who has done best he can*. Captain's role just isn't that much here. There seems to be a big cultural difference ?

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03-01-2006, 11:00 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pablo
This is exactly captain's role here in Finland and of course to be an example. He's not expected to a one man army, make magic tricks when things go wrong etc. In that situation fans, press etc. put pressure first on coach, then management. If it's clear that team lack motivation fans might boycott a game or two, but *never question/target one single player who has done best he can*. Captain's role just isn't that much here. There seems to be a big cultural difference ?
In Montreal, the fans have a sort of cultural ownership of the team. I don't know if that's the best way to describe it, but it seems that fans of the CH have certain expectations and demands of the players. I don't want to get into a sociological debate with anyone here, and I try to explain this because of where you're posting from. I found it interesting on Sunday morning in the pregame comments on CBC, they quoted one of the Sedins' as saying that if they lost, the criticism would have become personal, moreso than in North America. This surprised me a little bit. There are quite a few personal attacks on the board, but in mainstream media, fewer than you'd think.

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03-01-2006, 11:00 AM
  #13
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I am baffled by the emphasis on the captaincy in today's game expressed on this forum. It seems to echo the agenda of 110%. The rants sound too much alike to have originated independently.

As I have commented a number of times recently, teams with supposedly all-time great captains such as Mark Messier have flopped badly over the years. Starting with 1997-8, Messier did not appear in a single playoff series with either the Canucks or the Rangers. Nada! During approximately the same era, the Habs qualified for the playoffs 4 times with Koivu as captain, and they got to the 2nd round twice.

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03-01-2006, 01:08 PM
  #14
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i don't see wut the big deal is anyways??

wasn't he elected captain by the players?

i mean who knows the players more than themselves?


yes given that most of the players that elected him aren't on the team anymore but still

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03-01-2006, 01:50 PM
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I feel this thread going downhill. Here's an attempt at getting it back on track.

For me, a captain is someone that has good relations with the refs, coaching, management and even the other team. I was captain most of my "career" and I think that a big reason for my success as captain was due to my sportsmanship. A player who works hard and keeps his cool when talking to refs.

Another important thing for being a captain (IMO) is to be on good terms with everyone in the locker room. You don't have to be best friends with everyone in the room, because it's hard to be respected by someone who dislikes you.

And of course there has to be some skill there. When your captain can get your team back in the game on the ice, it's always a plus.

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03-01-2006, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Should your best player wear the C ? What do you want in a captain ?
Good topic.

In my opinion a captain doesn't have to be the best player on your team. I DO think that it is a player that brings it every single night though. Having your best player wear the C puts much more pressure on him I think. For example, Saku wears our C, he also happens to be our best (if not top 2) player that is relied upon to put the puck in the net. It is not easy to score night in and night out in this league, without the added pressure of wearing a C.

In my opinion THE perfect captain - and maybe I'm biased because it was my era growing up - was Guy Carbonneau. The guy had the respect of all of the players. When he was our captain he wasn't supposed to score 80 points. He was our best penalty killer and our "shutdown" man. I think it's much easier to do that than worry about scoring 80 points.

Which comes to my conclusion...I like Saku, a lot. I think he is a FANTASTIC leader. I really do. BUT I think he would do A LOT better if he didn't wear the C. In my opinion, as crazy as it sounds, a guy like Begin should wear the C. He brings energy all the time. He makes things happen. I think Saku deals with a lot of pressure from the media just because of the letter on his jersey. I think that if he didn't wear one then he wouldn't be in the spotlight as much.

Just my 2 cents.

Cap

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03-01-2006, 02:48 PM
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Cap, I like Begin as much as anyone, but I think you have to have a guy who's more clearly established as a player. He came in on the waiver wire and is playing his second full year in the league. You don't want your captain getting situational icetime only. Begin's a cut above that,but he contributes best in spot duty and the pk. I'm not criticizing him in any way. Have there been other captains as far down the depth chart ? Just asking, I haven't really thought about it .

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03-01-2006, 07:41 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Cap, I like Begin as much as anyone, but I think you have to have a guy who's more clearly established as a player. He came in on the waiver wire and is playing his second full year in the league. You don't want your captain getting situational icetime only. Begin's a cut above that,but he contributes best in spot duty and the pk. I'm not criticizing him in any way. Have there been other captains as far down the depth chart ? Just asking, I haven't really thought about it .
Like I said, Carbonneau was never more than a third line center with us. Keane also. Turgeon stunk as a captain. Before that I have no idea because it was before my time, but honestly I think it fits better. Begin came on the waiver wire, big deal, so did Martin St. Louis.

What matters is what he brings to the team. He rubs off on people. I just think that if the media laid off of Saku then he'd be a lot better that's all.

Cap

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03-01-2006, 07:49 PM
  #19
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personally, i think the captain should be someone who always gives everything he has. he leads the others by example, he doesnt need to be someone very outspoken. to lead, hes gotta have some skill, and thats basically it.

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03-01-2006, 08:41 PM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
I think we're all big boys and girls and can avoid defending or slamming our favorite or least favorite players of Finnish and Portuguese heritage.

Bill and I were talking baout therole of wearing the C and how it's been perceived historically. I was trying to make a point the other day about how for the most part, inspirational speeches were reserved for teh movies or Ron McLeans' imagination.

The captain's original role was to be a link between the coach,management and the players. Further, the captain and his alternates[not asst. like we always say], had the right to discuss matters with the refs.

Teams need internal leadership, and it's a gm's role to make sure that his team has the right mix of personalities. A team needs some comedey to break tension, it needs a lot of personal qualities, but it isn't the C' s role specifically. Teams usually have a group of veteran players who address matters.

Going back to the 50's teams, the Rocket wore the C. I've never heard that he was a very vocal person. I don't think there's much I could post to educate anyone about the Rocket. He captained the 5 cups in a row team. Honestly, if Jean Guy Talbot wore the letter, they would have won 5. Doug Harvey followed him[1 year] until they dumped him because of his union involvement. He was as respected as the Rocket, though. Feel free to look at the captaincy of anyone who's worn the letter and evaluate. Did teams win because of their leadership ?

Should your best player wear the C ? What do you want in a captain ?
bang on IMO

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03-02-2006, 09:46 AM
  #21
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I'm feeling lazy today so I'll copy/paste a thread I wrote on this topic a while ago:



I find that the most important thing a leader needs is to be respected by your peers (teammates). You have to earn respect, you can't demand it - especially from adults. You must demonstrate that you will not ask of them, that which you will not do yourself. They must want to follow you and if you are a good leader they will.

Another thing I have noticed is talk is cheap. Yeah, I know it's cliche, but it is true. At first it works, but eventually you will be "tuned-out" unless you lead by example. You can be the best motivational speaker in the world, but without action you lack credibility. Think of past captains of the Canadiens, Gainey, Carbo, and yes Saku. These players lead by example, they are not big talkers. There is nothing that they ask of their teammates that they would not do themselves on the ice.

Of course I have encountered individuals who are reluctant to follow, this is where the rest of the team has to step in. You cannot lead on your own, you need a supporting cast, "Lieutenants" are needed. Every good leader has them. Take Mark Messier for example, some would say he is the best leader in profeesional sports. He got the job done in Edmonton because he had his lieutenants, but when he was traded to NY (where there was abundant talent) he stumbled and couldn't get the team to move in the same direction untill he brought in his supporting cast of leaders (Lowe, Tikanen, Graves, and others). You see, even the best leader in professional sports couldn't do it by himself.

If one is to lead, support from above is necessary as well. There must be a unified front at all times. In the case of hockey, I believe a coach has as much to do with the success of the captain as anything else. If the coach supports the captain this will add to his credibility. Of course, this is a two way street. The support of the coach by his captain adds to his credibilty.

In closing, the leadership of a team cannot be left to one individual. Leadership should be approached from a team perspective. There must be a leadership team in place. Unless everyone is on the same page it just isn't going to work. Let's hope our team can get it together, stop pointing fingers, and collectively lead us into the playoffs.

My 2 cents.

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03-02-2006, 11:57 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
What do you want in a captain ?
Consistency and inspirational play
accountability, work ethic
somewhat cares about the fans (but doesn't have to go as far as learning french)

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