| "C" ya when I "C"
Handcapping the Sharks captains race
Not that he's really put himself out on a limb
since taking over the bench job as the Sharks new head coach, Peter DeBoer's
one commitment to Sharks fans this off season is that his team will have a
captain this season. He didn't say when the big announcement will happen, but
that it will happen sometime during the 2015-16 season. The Sharks headless
approach to leadership (or multi-headed depending on who you ask) resulted in
one of the worst seasons in the past decade, so with that experiment behind
them, DeBoer gets a clean slate to work with.
Who can say what the
motivation is, but it's happening. Now the question is, who will take on the
responsibility of reinvigorating a team that lost its way last let's take a
look at the candidates:
Why it could happen: The obvious reason is, Thornton's been
there before and he wants the job back. It was no secret that the Sharks last
captain was affected by the slap that came with the C being torn from his
sweater last summer. A rift between he and GM became public late in the season,
and another with Todd McLellan was later suggested after McLellan headed to
Edmonton. Rift aside, Thornton still performed last season, which is a
testament to his professionalism. He's a respected force in the locker room,
that could be just the conduit that DeBoer needs to communicate with younger
Why it couldn't happen: Thornton's been there before.
Some say he lost the locker room during the fateful Los Angeles series in the
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His message is tired and the younger leaders have
tuned him out. Some of those younger players are also vying for more of a
leadership role, and Wilson has repeatedly stated that those players will get a
chance to step in to the role. Too bad Wilson never clarified when that would
Why it could happen: The young Sharks player is
a budding superstar who is on the cusp of becoming more of a figure head for
the Sharks anyway. Couture is not shy in front of the camera, and his hatred
for losing is the type of attitude you want leading the charge. His play speaks
for itself, which is also important in a dressing room that is on the verge of
getting a lot younger. With Thornton and Patrick Marleau entering the twilight
stage of their careers, San Jose needs a guy that can fill the role for a while
and will commend of the respect of his younger peers.
couldn't happen: The big question is if Couture can juggle both the
responsibilities of the captaincy and his game simultaneously. He set career
high's on points and assists, but his goal scoring failed to crack the 30-goal
plateau for the third consecutive season. The Sharks need someone to deposit
the puck into the back of the net, and they'll rely more and more on Couture to
do that this season. Can he focus on that and juggle the responsibility of the
Why it could happen:
Vlasic's name is never mentioned in talks about who will don the C for San
Jose, but some of the best captains in the NHL are defensemen. It's easy to
judge the value of a forward in terms of his offensive production and how the
captain's role can interfere with that. It's not as easy to wrap statistics
around defensive performance, which provides a buffer to allow the player to do
both jobs. Vlasic is a mainstay in San Jose and he's well respected in the
locker room. It's actually pretty easy to think that he could be the Sharks
Why it couldn't happen: Vlasic isn't the most
outspoken player in the Sharks locker room and he may not have the motivation
or desire to put himself in the spotlight. He's the bona fide leader of the
defensive corps for San Jose, but he's not really a rah-rah guy that's going to
light a fire under his fellow teammates.
it could happen: Like Thornton, Marleau's been there before. He's one of
the longer tenured captain's in Sharks history, and after a hiatus, he may have
the desire to give it another go-round. With more careers games in Sharks
history than anyone on the planet, his reputation will win over some players,
especially the slew of younger talent that will fill the Sharks dressing room.
Why it couldn't happen: Given his track record, it's actually
unlikely that Marleau would garner much serious consideration for the job. He's
too soft spoken and his ability to lead by example is slipping away as the
sands of time get more cruel. Marleau is likely to be unwilling to take on the
headache of wearing the C again. He was no stranger to criticism when he was
captain, so why take on that added grief in the twilight of a successful
career. He can fill in the assistant's role, which provides some respect,
without having the focus on him. Just the way he likes it.
Why it could happen: Like Vlasic, a blueliner is an attractive target to
take on the duty. Burns is well respected around the league by players and
officials alike. He's a hard nosed guy that will be able to command some
respect on the ice.
Why it couldn't happen: The simple fact is,
Burns is a little nutty, and San Jose needs a guy that will be able to sway
officials, command the locker room and serve as a conduit for DeBoer. His
off-kilter attitude toward everything makes his ability to serve those three
capacities a little suspect. There's no argument that Burns seems to be a good
fit in the Sharks locker room, but wearing a C doesn't seem to be a good fit.
Why it could happen: By all accounts, Pavelski is the guy
everyone expects to get the nod. He's a leader in the locker room and on the
ice, and he stepped up his involvement in front of the cameras and microphones
last season. By all accounts, he's well respected in the locker room and his
NHL and international credentials command some respect. He's an even keel guy
that knows what to say and when to say it, and reports last season had him
taking a more proactive role in trying to lead the troops.
couldn't happen: After last season's experiment, the big question will be
if Pavelski was given some latitude to lead and landed on his butt along with
the Sharks season. Nobody was very motivated last year, so if the role was
being tested on him or Couture last season, the season's outcome could spell
doom for either of their chances.
Tommy Wingels: Still too raw
both on the ice and in the locker room. Needs to prove he's here to stay before
anyone takes him seriously as a captain.
Martin: New guy that needs to establish himself in the locker room.
DeBoer could of course try to gut the culture by anointing fresh blood.
Joel Ward: Another new guy that needs to
deliver on the ice first. He'll prove himself with his hustle, which could
motivate DeBoer to slap and "A" on his sweater if he really does want to change
the culture in San Jose.
Matt Nieto: Too young.
Justin Braun: Needs to stop disappearing on the
Tomas Hertl: Still a kid. Language
Melker Karlsson: Needs to prove he's
not a one-year wonder.
Brendon Dillon: Could
happen someday, just not today.
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums