This morning’s guest post is courtesy of Brian:
First off, I’d like to start by saying this. I NEVER ONCE questioned the decision to give Chris Drury the “C”. In fact, I thought it made perfect sense. Here is a guy that despite size (or lack thereof) has been one of the most integral factors to any team he’s been a part of. He’s an Olympian and Stanley Cup winner. We’ve all heard the stories of a little league world champ who has won at everything that they’ve worked at in life. He has always been a top notch competitor on the ice, and a gentleman off of the ice (two things which any and every NHL captain should be able to claim true).
Here’s the thing. At some point one has to realize that past successes don’t equal future success. Jordan didn’t win as a Wizard. Gretzky never won again after leaving Edmonton. Messier eventually returned to a Ranger uniform and would guarantee a playoff berth but fail to deliver. None of the above mentioned names are anything short of incredible athletes that anyone would be lucky to be compared to. While we hoped Drury’s presence on the team would play out as it has in many a Cinderella stories throughout his life and career. It has not, plain and simple. Sometimes the name on the back of a jersey and the memories attached to that name can build a certain expectation. As we have learned in the past this is not a reliable method of predicting a team’s future (google a Rangers’ team that boasted the name Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros at the same time for reference).
I digress. The way to fix a problem isn’t to keep re-establishing the problem. It is to look at solutions. The name ringing in my ears while writing this post is not Drury. It is Callahan. After years of waiting, we are lucky enough to bode a strong homegrown team. I look back at some of those names from before and see a young Michael Jordan toting his first of many trophy for the Chicago bulls. I picture Sid “The Kid” Crosby lifting his first Stanley cup. I picture Jonathan Toews hoisting the cup over his head. I see a young pair of players named Gretzky and Messier hugging after their fourth consecutive championship victory. In more cases than not it came down to homegrown, youthful talent. Respectfully speaking, and with this seasons fragility in mind, I would be afraid Drury trying to lift Lord Stanley’s silver would put him out for the next season with a back issue. When Vinny Prospal returned, after 53 games missed, it was immediately announced that he would not be seeking the “A” for Alternate (or assistant) captain, back. He would forfeit this privilege and honor to a young, core teammate by the name of Marc Staal. Such an honorable move, from a true gentleman of sport is commendable. A true leader can spot that same quality in others and stand aside when needed. They also understand the importance of a true leader going into battle with you, not watching from the sideline. Imagine the revolutionary war had George Washington been calling shots from a press box.
I wish Chris Drury would prove me wrong. Fact is, it is time to pass the torch. Even Wayne Gretzky finished his career only lighting the lamp 9 times and missing the playoffs. Mind you, the “great one” did not wear a “C” as a Ranger except when Brian Leetch was injured. If someone like Wayne Gretzky who arguably saved the entire league single handedly did not command a “C” as a Ranger. Why does Drury? At over 7 million dollars a year and zero productivity, he is too expensive of a piece that we can’t put to use. Especially, when there is a player as dedicated and productive as Ryan Callahan on your team, a player that bleeds blue. He fights, scores, defends, and represents everything you are trying to instill in your youth. He is your captain. The letter on a jersey doesn’t matter. Accountability does. Oh Captain, Where art thou?