Guest Post: Oh Captain, Where Art Thou?

March 1, 2011, by

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?


  1. Mikeyyyy says:

    While I agree on the need of a captain. Please see my previous comments.

    Callahan is not the answer. The people you espouse as seeing lift the cup were all vocal captains. Not lead by example folks.

    My vote goes to Brian Boyle. He is vocal. Play hard , put in the extra effort an leads the team in goals. Is also the last guy off the ice every night.Also look at McCabe. He is a prvious captain with experience. Bombs the puck from the point and aha hard. Dont tell me he hasn’t been here long enough. Messier was on site 2 days before the players voted him captain. Whichever captain they choose, it needs to be a loud one. It’s one thing to be talked to by coaches bit it’s another to have your captain telling you too. Remember the players only meetings? When did we last have one of those? Oh that’s right it’s the captains job to run those.

    In actuality the team should vote though.

    • Section 121 says:

      Nice post Brian – McCabe is a good player but come on, a Mess comparison for captain is not reasonable. Mess is one of the top five players of all time – winning 2 Cups without the Great One by sheer will and that aura that a true leader/captain brings. It’s that presence that made him a captain in 2 days. McCabe does not have that.

      As for Callahan, he’s a fine choice but it almost seems that he’s another version of Dru; a hard working, quite, lead by example type.

      I do agree that the captain needs to be vocal but I’m not sure that Boyle fits. I always thought Dubinsky was in line for captaincy ever since Mess said he saw that potential in him from year one. Now I’m just not sure anymore since the coaching staff has messed with his head and removed him from his natural, most confident position at center.

      I remember that extremely hot start Dubi had last season at center where he was scoring goals, slamming into people, riding high with extreme confidence. Then the coaches tried to level him off by saying he couldn’t ride high like that all the time and find consistency. Then the doubt started to creep in for him. Since then, they moved him to wing and I haven’t been sure ever since.

      Tough call.

    • Brian SCS says:

      Dubinsky is too inconsistent and far too undisciplined to be captain – though an A is appropriate for him due to the qualities he brings – aggressiveness on the ice, vocal leadership and the willingness to stand up for team-mates. Brian Boyle may not be a bad choice but he would have to exhibit his improved play for another season before I would consider him.

      • Section 121 says:

        I don’t see any differences in the production streaks that Callahan and Dubinsky put up. Each has small droughts; two games here, three games there and then they score again. This inconsistency thing is a myth in my mind.

        As far as discipline, did anyone ever question when Mess through an elbow or a nasty slash to maintain that intimidation and edge to his game that fueled the aura about him?

        Mess had 1910 PIM in just 1756 games.

        Just sayin’

        • Section 121 says:

          Dubi has 323 PIM in 298 games; sounds about right.

          Callahan has 163 PIM in 268 games.

          • Brian SCS says:

            I am not criticizing Dubi because every team needs players like him, but you can be physical and not take penalties – Adam Graves comes to mind.

            • Brian SCS says:

              I agree with the inconsistency point that you make as far as points are concerned. But what I really meant and should have specified is consistency in “effort”. There is never a question of Callahan’s effort. I think that is not always true of Dubinsky but really that could be said for 90% of NHL players. Callahan is a rarity.

        • Brian SCS says:

          Messier was a dirty player and got away with a lot of elbows and high sticks because of who he was. Quite frankly, many of Messier’s actions that he got away with because of who he was would be suspensions in today’s NHL. Messier toed the line later in his career but was not a disciplined player for most of his career.

  2. Brian SCS says:

    I agree, it has become time for Drury to hand the Captaincy over to Callahan. I have no problems with his leadership – he is a true class act in that he sacrifices his body and his ego for the good of the team – but he clearly is no longer the same player that he was when he was signed. It’s difficult to assess how much his injuries have actually hampered his game and how much of his game has eroded due to age but he clearly has not met expectations. He has done his part in showing his younger team-mates what it means to put the team ahead of personal goals. But now his $7 mil cap hit has become an obstacle in improving this team. It will be interesting to see what he does this summer. Will he retire and allow the Rangers to bank his entire cap hit or will he sit back and wait for the free money of a buy-out?

    The good thing for the Rangers is that they have a player who is a perfect fit to replace him. Not only has Callahan earned Tortorella’s support but he exemplifies the type of energetic, hard, disciplined hockey that you want to be characteristic of your team. And he is one of those players that I think will bear the Captaincy with pride yet not let it change the way he plays or become a burden. The best part of it is that it’s not just being handed over, Ryan Callahan has earned it.

  3. Mikeyyyy says:

    Sorry but this team needs someone with a loudervoice. Quiet work ethic doesn’t cut it.

    Avery for captain. Lol.

  4. Fotiu is God says:

    Bully for you, Dave. On point.

    Truth be told, I’m at a loss to explain why Dru hasn’t stepped up and done The Right Thing. Heck, no way he’s missed Prospal’s class gesture: refusing the A. My admiration for The Human Tanning Bed grew exponentially with that one.

    Mulling who deserves the C, the club clearly belongs to Cally, Dubinsky and Staal.

    My gut tells me Staal and Cally tend to be more quiet/lead by example personalities, while Dubi seems more prone to give both refs and opponents an earful. Based on that propensity I’d lead more to Dubi.

    Shuffling off tonight’s tilt: Lord, I hope Cam Talbot’s got some game. Where did the kid Johnson bounce to?

  5. Brian says:

    I’m happy with all the responses.
    I appreciate it guys thanks for reading.
    I picked cally because I feel the vocal aspect is a respect thing.
    I don’t think he wants to step on the toes of his fellow Olympian.
    I think his voice gets heard a lot more once drury is out of the picture officially.

  6. Brian says:

    By the way it is not me who suggested mccabe. Different Brian.