Is Shawn Horcoff A Good Captain?

Jonathan Willis
April 04 2012 05:12PM

It’s a question I get once at least once a week, and lately it feels more like a daily or even hourly occurrence: should Shawn Horcoff be the captain of the Edmonton Oilers?

Inevitably, when I’m asked the question, it’s followed shortly thereafter by a list of reasons why he shouldn’t be. I’m not going to rehash them. The odds are good that anyone reading this has already come across them.

What makes a good captain? Different people have different lists, but most fans prefer players that are either elite talents or display work ethic, typically measured by things liked blocked shots, a physical game, or a willingness to fight.

It’s interesting to review lists of the NHL’s best captains a year or two later, since such criteria are often poor indicators of which players really are good captains. Such a list was put to together by Andrew Kearney for Bleacher Report, and in the comments sections two other lists were put together by readers. Here are the three lists:

Rank List 1 List 2 List 3
1 Sidney Crosby Niklas Lidstrom Niklas Lidstrom
2 Niklas Lidstrom Sidney Crosby Sidney Crosby
3 Jonathan Toews Jarome Iginla Jarome Iginla
4 Mike Richards Jonathan Toews Jonathan Toews
5 Alexander Ovechkin Mike Richards Zdeno Chara
6 Jarome Iginla Zdeno Chara Mike Richards
7 Henrik Sedin Ryan Getzlaf Eric Staal
8 Ryan Getzlaf Eric Staal Ryan Getzlaf
9 Brendan Morrow Daniel Alfredsson Daniel Alfredsson
10 Adam Foote Brendan Morrow Brendan Morrow
11 Vincent Lecavalier Rick Nash Rick Nash
12 Shane Doan Mikko Koivu Mikko Koivu
13 (none) (none) Dion Phaneuf

I’m going to include the comment on Phaneuf from that third list, just because it’s golden:

The Maple Leafs hasnt been a force but he's well respected in the organization, voices his opinion no matter what, and gained the respectful presence locker room as soon as he was traded. Not too many young players can do that. He also really cares about the Maple Leafs and wants to win. Just hope Bran Burkle can do that as a GM.

Today, it’s hard to throw a rock in Toronto without hitting somebody who questions Phaneuf’s abilities as team captain. Dave Feschuk’s column less than a week ago added mainstream criticism to the fires – and quoted (unnamed) NHL players.

Anyway, there are other interesting inclusions on the list. Mike Richards gets a prominent spot on all three lists, despite questions about his ability to get along with Chris Pronger. After those lists were put together came the “Dry Island” nonsense and Richards’ trade to Los Angeles. Rick Nash shows up on two lists; it’s hard to imagine he’d land on any now.

Even in Edmonton, it’s easy think of cases where fans would like a mulligan – Sheldon Souray (also known as Studley Wonderbomb) was a frequently cited fan choice for captain. That ended shortly before he became a common fan choice for exile to the AHL for fear he would sour young players on being Oilers.

It’s probably fair to argue that fans, as a rule, aren’t particularly good at picking up leadership qualities from afar.

That’s one of the reasons I typically don’t spend much time worrying who the captain is. I’m not qualified to make a decision. The other reason is that, on the whole, I very much doubt it matters a lot. A guy with leadership qualities is going to lead, whether or not he has a letter. A guy without leadership qualities isn’t going to lead, again whether or not he has a letter.

Beyond that, those leadership qualities aren’t going to matter more than a good/bad goaltender, defense or forward group. The game is played on the ice – having a harmonious and well-led dressing room is a good thing but ultimately it isn’t going to make Cam Barker a competent NHL defenseman; just as a discordant and leaderless group isn’t going to suck away Jordan Eberle’s goal-scoring ability.

The third point takes us from the general and back to the specific: is Shawn Horcoff a good captain? Here’s what some teammates had to say about him when he was named:

Tom Gilbert: “It was no surprise in this locker room. He’s vocal, he leads on the ice… he’s going to be a good guy to fill that spot.”

Taylor Hall: “Definitely very deserving. Probably my pick for the captain… for me to be on his line right now and sit beside him in the room and him kind of taking me under his wing is very special.”

Sam Gagner: “Everybody’s going to be behind him and look to him for guidance. He’s the right guy and it’s a great fit for us… guys call him the GM because of how organized he is, and how he's just got everything so taken care of.”

If there’s been a bad word spoken about Horcoff’s personality, work ethic or leadership from one of his teammates, I haven’t seen it.

Finally, there’s the point that being a good captain of the Edmonton Oilers the last few years has involved something quite difficult: showing up and talking to the media loss after loss.

It reminds me of a story I read once about Stephen Harper and Peter Van Loan. Harper, obviously, is the Prime Minister while Van Loan has been one of his more prominent cabinet ministers. Anyway, the story goes that back when Brian Mulroney’s government was rocked by scandals, Mulroney would always rise to take questions in the House of Commons. Day after day it would go: questioning about scandal, Mulroney answering, questioning about scandal, Mulroney answering. The Harper government believed that Mulroney constantly answering these sorts of questions helped link him in the public mind to the scandals he was answering on. So they made a choice – instead of having Harper answer a question on something they didn’t want him linked to, up would pop Peter Van Loan’s cheerful mug to answer.

Shawn Horcoff doesn’t have a Peter Van Loan. He is the Oilers’ Peter Van Loan. Night after night, on a team built to lose hockey games, Horcoff’s the guy that has to answer the questions of why they didn’t show up, why they weren’t competitive. He’s done it without tossing his teammates under the bus; he’s also done it without absolving himself of blame (predecessor Ethan Moreau, in a one-goal loss where the powerplay went 1-for-4 and the penalty-kill went 1-for-4, blamed the power play for the loss despite the fact that he’d been directly involved with the goal against on the penalty kill). He’s done it on nights where he’s the only veteran volunteering to go out to answer questions.

There are fans out there who would rather see Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle in that role. There aren’t a lot of guys anywhere near 20 that I’d like to see with that responsibility. Leaving aside the difficult task of answering questions on why the team has lost yet again – without blaming teammates, while accepting responsibility – I can’t imagine that it does great things to the psyche of the player involved.

From my admittedly limited perspective, there isn’t a player on the team who could have done the thankless job that Shawn Horcoff has done the last two years better than he has.

To recap:

  • 1. Fans are bad at identifying good leaders.
  • 2. Good leadership is very much a secondary concern in the grand scheme of things.
  • 3. Based on the knowledge we have, Shawn Horcoff is a good captain.
  • 4. Being the captain of a terrible team is a hard job that probably doesn't help young players develop into great players.
74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Lowetide
April 04 2012, 05:19PM
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He's done every crap job asked of him since he got here, and those crap jobs have been some of the toughest available during his career.

Good captain? Hell, his career since 2006 spring is worthy of martyrdom.

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#2 Quicksilver ballet
April 04 2012, 05:14PM
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In the darkest era ever of Oilers hockey, yes, he'll have to do. Atleast until management starts earning their pay.

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#3 tileguy
April 04 2012, 05:33PM
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What a breathe of freash air to read something nice about Horcoff. That was a dam good piece JW.

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#4 Robin Brownlee
April 04 2012, 07:33PM
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Well done.

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#6 John Chambers
April 04 2012, 05:28PM
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I was of the opinion we needed a change of captain prior to reading the article. I am now convinced of the otherwise, especially on the point about Horcoff accepting responsibility for the team's failures. Good read.

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#7 David S
April 04 2012, 09:22PM
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I'm taking a big risk here because this'll probably come off like me being a dick. So I'll start by saying I don't blame Horcoff because he's getting paid too much as that was entirely not his doing. Someone decided to pay him that big wad of cash based on whatever qualities they thought they saw at the time. Fine. And I admire him being a decent, upstanding guy both at the rink (as far as I can see as a fan) and in the community at large. Double fine.

That being said I think there's a big difference between being a team spokesperson and a team leader. On the former I have alot of respect for Shawn taking the media brunt after every mailed-in effort or mistake-laden loss. On the latter, I've watched countless games this year where the opposing team's captain was their most inspiring player, leading by grit, skill and shear desire to win. To a one they make an impact on the game. By comparison, Horcoff more often than not wasn't even in the same universe.

At the end of the day I don't care how good a captain is in front of a camera. I care how great a leader he is on the ice, because that's where games are won and lost. Great captains are winners by example. They will their teams to win and have the ability to throw the game on their backs if that's what it takes. That list up above in the article proves it. By that metric Shawn Horcoff is not a good captain.

Maybe he's the perfect captain for a team that has no (real) desire to win. But when the day comes we decide winning might actually be important, we'll have to find a captain worthy of those same sentiments. One who will lead by example, lay it on the line every game and dare his teammates to step up by his actions on the ice. We desperately need a new Mark Messier. I think his name is Taylor Hall.

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#8 Lexi
April 04 2012, 05:32PM
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Great article JW.

I would rather have Horcoff as captain too long than make one of the kids a captain too soon. Bad teams have mediocre captains and for all his flaws, Horcoff has at least appered to have been a pro and on a team that has had the last 3 yrs we have that says something.

In the next two or three years one of the kids will probably become the obvious pick for whoever the coach is and that will be the right time and I'm sure Horcoff will be happy to give it up then. (see Fogolin to Gretzky in 80s)

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#9 EasyOil
April 05 2012, 02:47AM
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One further player quote to add to your list, Jonathan. I distinctly remember last year when Cogliano was traded, he (Cogliano) said that Shawn Horcoff was hands down the most professional guy he'd ever played with.

And to me personally, that's what it comes down to. Horcoff is an absolute model of professionalism, taking responsibility for what goes on and never shying away from his duties. His contract is unfortunate, but doesn't affect in the slightest what the team can or can't do with regards to bringing others in.

I for one would love for Horcoff to spend his entire career as an Oiler, and will have tears in my eyes in his final game, whenever that may be.

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#10 David S
April 05 2012, 12:05PM
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george99 wrote:

I have always thought that Shawn Horcoff was a player w/ limited talent and lots of heart. He's a meat and potatoes kind of player, and sopmeone who I thought was sincere. That being said as a captain of any team - especially an NHL club in a fish bowl like Edmonton - one needs to conduct one's self like a captain. Recently, I saw a side of Shawn Horcoff that made me shake my head, and wonder if indeed he is worthy of wearing the 'C'. I was attending the exclusive photo opp at the Shaw Conference Centre for season ticket holders and as I was walking up to the doors I saw Horcoff and two other players walking in. Within ear shot, Horcoff exclaimed that he couldn't fu%$ing believe they had to hold this event at the Shaw, and why could they not have held it at Rexall like last year. Does he care what the fans think, or hear for that matter. Shame on you! Although this was but a mere seconds in the life of Shawn Horcoff as captain - sadly his tact and behavior speak volumes.

I think we should remember that Horcoff is a hockey player, not a diplomat. Most of them are a little rough around the edges.

Parking at the SHAW is brutal at the best of times and open to the public, whereas if players park at Rexall they have access to private parking - which would include being sheltered from Joe "There's Horcoff. I want a piece of him." fan. That might be a bit harsh, but it's the reality these guys have to face on a daily basis.

Just sayin'.

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#11 BigE91
April 05 2012, 01:11PM
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David S wrote:

I'm taking a big risk here because this'll probably come off like me being a dick. So I'll start by saying I don't blame Horcoff because he's getting paid too much as that was entirely not his doing. Someone decided to pay him that big wad of cash based on whatever qualities they thought they saw at the time. Fine. And I admire him being a decent, upstanding guy both at the rink (as far as I can see as a fan) and in the community at large. Double fine.

That being said I think there's a big difference between being a team spokesperson and a team leader. On the former I have alot of respect for Shawn taking the media brunt after every mailed-in effort or mistake-laden loss. On the latter, I've watched countless games this year where the opposing team's captain was their most inspiring player, leading by grit, skill and shear desire to win. To a one they make an impact on the game. By comparison, Horcoff more often than not wasn't even in the same universe.

At the end of the day I don't care how good a captain is in front of a camera. I care how great a leader he is on the ice, because that's where games are won and lost. Great captains are winners by example. They will their teams to win and have the ability to throw the game on their backs if that's what it takes. That list up above in the article proves it. By that metric Shawn Horcoff is not a good captain.

Maybe he's the perfect captain for a team that has no (real) desire to win. But when the day comes we decide winning might actually be important, we'll have to find a captain worthy of those same sentiments. One who will lead by example, lay it on the line every game and dare his teammates to step up by his actions on the ice. We desperately need a new Mark Messier. I think his name is Taylor Hall.

By your last two paragraphs one would surmise that Jason Smith was not a good captain either, nor for that matter were MacT or Buchberger?

"Maybe he's the perfect captain for a team that has no (real) desire to win."

You are talking about a guy that tried to block a shot with his face in the 06 playoffs. You are talking about a group of guys, not just Horcoff that are playing in the best hockey league in the world, if they didn't have a desire to win they wouldn't be there. As in life you play the hand you are dealt and since 2007 this team has been dealt a crappy hand. Poor signings, injuries, a mini coaching carousel. That's all on management and bad circumstances and not in any way an indictment on the players will or desire to win.

I think a lot of fans have been hard on Horcoff as captain, placing a huge amount of emphasis on his contract and less on what he does on the ice. He's not the most talented guy on the ice, but he works hard, plays hurt and pays the price for his team. His role here is diminishing but in that same respect as the kids get better and take a more prominent place on the team, I think we can expect to see better on ice results from Horcoff as well.

I was never a fan of making Horcoff captain, personally I thought it was a role preordained for Ryan Smyth but his departure and subsequent return have put that thought to rest. This team will be Taylor Halls in the future if he can get himself healthy and stay consistent over the next couple of years.

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#12 Racki
April 04 2012, 05:52PM
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I don't really believe that a hockey captain is just a figurehead that doesn't have affect on his teammates. A bad captain is a figurehead that doesn't have any affect on his teammates. It might not seem like it should be this way, but there are times where players will play better for a guy who holds them accountable. Maybe not all the time, no.. but there are times where a captain or alternate can get the most out of certain teammates whether it be from inspiring words or inspiring play. There are times where guys take nights off.. we know this. I think a good captain could help make teammates feel more accountable for those off nights. Should it work that way? I don't think so. Guys should be able to dig deep within themselves... but I don't think that's always how it works in practice.

Anyways, I'm of the belief that Horcoff is the best captain this team has to offer. His work ethic is second to .. well.. maybe Taylor Hall. I think that's probably it though as far as leadership qualities being better in someone else (talent level aside.. but that isn't what I consider a leadership quality so much). But he also is very vocal, intelligent, and can handle a world of pressure (which he's been doing since about '06).

The biggest thing for me though is that players and/or coaches generally decide on captaincy. I trust FAR more in what any of them would have to say about a player's ability to be a good captain than any of us fans. It's fun to debate all this stuff, I suppose, but really it just seems pretty silly to me (not to take anything away from your post though JW, I don't mean it in that way.. I think you are of a similar mind on that point).

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#13 Dan the Man
April 04 2012, 05:52PM
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Thank you for writing this, you make so many very good points. Horcoff has been a great soldier for this team and yet he gets capped on constantly because the Oilers chose to overpay him.

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#14 Will Colford
April 04 2012, 05:54PM
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Great article. I think most fans know Horcoff's value lies in numbers that are hard to quantify. Like Taylor Hall, Ryan Whitney, Nugent Hopkins, and Ryan Smyth, the Oilers are a noticeably different team when he's not in the line-up. I think the good captains do two things, accept responsibility, and lead by example. These are two things Horcoff consistently demonstrates. However, I think great captains do one more thing effectively, hold teammates accountable for mistakes away from the public. This is something few people outside the locker room know if Horcoff is doing, and I think it shows in the team's compete level. Great captains are great because they're team wants to play for them, possibly why Dion is getting so much flack lately.

I think the C will pass to Hall for a few reasons. He competes literally every single shift. He wants to carry the team on his back. He is also well adept at talking to the media and taking responsibility. His work ethic off the ice and desire to get back on it is well documented. He's an elite level talent and will develop into an incredible player if he can stay healthy. Finally, he's a superstar in Edmonton and for the love this city gives him, It seems as though he loves the city. The only question mark is will the players want to play for him? I think when he's ready to take over the C, the team will look drastically different and Hall will have emerged as a great leader.

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#15 russ99
April 04 2012, 05:55PM
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Horcoff has been a good Oiler and a good captain, especially the last few years.

But that doesn't make him a good hockey player, especially at his salary. But even if he were making only a million dollars per season, he shouldn't be seeing a role any higher than 3rd line on this team, much less a good team.

If the Oilers can somehow rid the team of his millstone contract, I wouldn't mind seeing Belanger as captain next year.

The guy has seen it all around the league and seems like a good mentor for the younger players.

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#16 Will Colford
April 04 2012, 05:56PM
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Also, doesn't Strudwick write for this post? Anyway we can get an insider's perspective on what, if anything, makes Horcoff at least the most qualified man for the job?

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#17 Talbot17
April 04 2012, 06:59PM
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I agree hard work builds the argument of the captain leading by example, but it also comes a time when the captain my be questioned by the media overtime and i am sure players pick up on this and maybe even question their leadership as well. I have always been a believer in the captaincy going to someone who goes full out night in and night out and can consistently produce because if he is ever questioned by teammates they can easily see his hard work but also his results. Taylor Hall or Eberle to me eventually should wear the C but I dont think that should occur for another year at least.

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#18 DieHard
April 04 2012, 08:24PM
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Oh crap, too much love. If Horcoff was a UFA last year, we would not have sought him out. We're talking about a new CBA with amnesty for who? Currently there really is no one else to take the roll but the best choice going forward is Eberly.

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#19 knight
April 04 2012, 08:41PM
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Sounds like a good guy, well respected by his teammates however, is there any other captain in the league that any team would trade for Horcoff? I doubt it. Not his fault though, no one would have turned down his awful contract or the C.

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Great article!!

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#21 Saytalk
April 04 2012, 08:54PM
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It makes sense that the captain should be a veteran player who's been around long enough to have seen it all (including the playoffs), and so it should not just be the most talented youngster on the team.

By the way, I heard that during the first intermission of Game 3 in the Finals last year, when the Bruins were down 2-0 in the series and Horton had just been knocked out, Zdeno Chara got up and gave a speech to his team. I'd really like to know what he said to his teammates because the Bruins absolutely dominated the Canuckleheads for the rest of the series. For that, Chara is at the top of my captains list (of active players).

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#22 vetinari
April 04 2012, 09:08PM
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I think that few doubt that Horcoff has heart and committment and will deflect blame from the kids, but frankly, from a business standpoint, his contract is a huge albatross (which is management's mistake and not his) and if there is a one time free contract amnesty buy-out provision in the next CBA, Horcoff's name is written all over that.

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#23 Quicksilver ballet
April 04 2012, 09:59PM
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Lowetide wrote:

He's done every crap job asked of him since he got here, and those crap jobs have been some of the toughest available during his career.

Good captain? Hell, his career since 2006 spring is worthy of martyrdom.

The same jobs need to be done on a top 10 club in the league as well Alan. Is it less glorious doing it on a last place club compared to a competitive club?

Or is Horcoff just flat out doing a crappy job, leading his teammates to last place while doing said jobs? Never seen that discriptive word linked to say, a Kris Draper. Maybe Horcoff's just doing it all wrong. Can it be that there's a link between the two, is he just a 3 dressed up as a 9?

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#24 Bucknuck
April 04 2012, 10:28PM
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The question for this article was never "is he worth his contract?" we all know the answer, so if you're commenting don't bring it up.

The question is: "Is he a good captain?". If the players say yes even when things are off the record (reading between the lines here), then really that is all that matters. If the players think so, then I think it is so.

Being the face of the haphazard group of schmucks that Tambellini has assembled the last few years is not easy. Hopefully next year he gets a bit of payback. You have to love a guy who blocks a puck with his face.

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#25 friday the FISTeenth
April 04 2012, 10:32PM
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That article filled me with emotion. Poor Horcoff...the goat, the sacrificial lamb, the whipping boy. All so that precious Nuge and Eberle can receive the glory they're due! *blows nose* *grabs another handful of cheesies*

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#26 Atomic Wonton
April 04 2012, 10:45PM
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You do not win by scoring as many goals as you can, you win by scoring more goals than your opponent. I feel Horcoff is the only player on the Oilers who addresses the goal of the game in the right mentality. As far as I'm concerned he should be Captain, Coach, and GM.

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#27 DonDon
April 04 2012, 11:18PM
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Yes, make Horcoff Coach, and GM, but don't put him on the ice! He is a big liability when the puck is dropped. Being captain of the Oilers is mission impossible. Same with Iglina with the Flames. Better that the Oilers rotate their captains until they improve and compete for the playoffs. In the meantime, let Tambellini make the excuses for losses, he is the architect of this perennial losing machine.

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#28 Dog Train
April 05 2012, 12:02AM
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Great article.

The problem with Horcoff is Mactavish gave him every opportunity to be our #1 centre, he had a few good seasons and cashed in so now it looks bad when our 3rd line centre is making as much as he is. Horcoff is a useful NHL player and a standup guy. It's not his fault that the team tried to make him into something that he is not.

That said, I would still use the amnesty clause on him if there is one for the new CBA because that contract is a burden. If we move Belanger, then I would consider restructuring Horcoff's deal.

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#29 Mulli35
April 05 2012, 12:19AM
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Also agree with those saying this is a good article. Horcoff does a lot of things well, none of them are top 6 or $5 million well but at this point most of us should have come to terms with the fact this his contract is real and not a horrible case of the night terrors.

To steal from Chris Rock calling Sean Horcoff overpaid "is like playing basketball with a retarded kid and calling him for double dribble."

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#30 stevezie
April 05 2012, 05:29AM
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This isn't a good article; this is a great article. It is a Godsend, it is manna from heaven. It neatly and effectively explains why this is a stupid discussion often held by stupid people.

I would add something: One of the main complaints I hear is people saying something stupid like, "We need to show that this it Taylor Hall's team." This is dumb for two reasons:
1.) If you look at the recent history of very young players being made captains there are a lot more failures than successes(anyone remember LEcavaliers first kick at the can?).
2.)Let’s just stop and ask outselves what you hope to achieve by giving Hall the captaincy?
Is it to motivate Hall? Because if you don’t think he’s already at max motivation, then we are watching different games.
Is it to motivate the team? Because if this is already “Hall’s team and everyone knows it”, then the letter change would be in name only.

Way to go Willis.

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#31 pelhem grenville
April 05 2012, 05:38AM
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...i'm thinkin' y'nailed it JW...nice piece for all the ten haters to choke on ...thanks

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#32 mayorpoop
April 05 2012, 06:03AM
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Horcoff WAS a very good captain. it's time to move on at end of season, especially if amnesty occurs.

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#33 Dman09
April 05 2012, 08:41AM
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As far as I'm concerned with the contract he signed and the lack of production he should be the guy to fill that role.

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#34 Dman09
April 05 2012, 08:43AM
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Dman09 wrote:

As far as I'm concerned with the contract he signed and the lack of production he should be the guy to fill that role.

Also there is no way for the general public to know if he is a good captain or not. That is a locker room team dynamic that only the members of the team would be able to know.

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#35 etownman
April 05 2012, 09:57AM
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No, he's not a good captain! In my opinion your captain needs to excell at some part of game & be able to relate to ALL the players on the team! Horcoff fails!

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#36 D-Man
April 05 2012, 11:02AM
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etownman wrote:

No, he's not a good captain! In my opinion your captain needs to excell at some part of game & be able to relate to ALL the players on the team! Horcoff fails!

He excels at dealing with the media along with sheltering the kids from the spotlight... He comes to camp year after year in tip top shape... Taylor Hall said Horc would be his choice...

Horcoff is the right choice for captain - get past his contract, that's what many of the Horcoff haters see... He's an effective 3rd line center on any team in the NHL.... Right now - he's being asked to do more than he's capable...

Keep in mind - chances are good, he won't be captain once his contract comes up after the 2014/15 season... I also wouldn't be shocked if he pulls a Lee Fogolin after the 2013/14 season giving up his "C" to one of the kids anyway... The kids aren't ready for that type of scrutiny yet - patience, Etownman, patience...

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#37 george99
April 05 2012, 11:12AM
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I have always thought that Shawn Horcoff was a player w/ limited talent and lots of heart. He's a meat and potatoes kind of player, and sopmeone who I thought was sincere. That being said as a captain of any team - especially an NHL club in a fish bowl like Edmonton - one needs to conduct one's self like a captain. Recently, I saw a side of Shawn Horcoff that made me shake my head, and wonder if indeed he is worthy of wearing the 'C'. I was attending the exclusive photo opp at the Shaw Conference Centre for season ticket holders and as I was walking up to the doors I saw Horcoff and two other players walking in. Within ear shot, Horcoff exclaimed that he couldn't fu%$ing believe they had to hold this event at the Shaw, and why could they not have held it at Rexall like last year. Does he care what the fans think, or hear for that matter. Shame on you! Although this was but a mere seconds in the life of Shawn Horcoff as captain - sadly his tact and behavior speak volumes.

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#38 EL CAPEETAN
April 05 2012, 12:31PM
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george99 wrote:

I have always thought that Shawn Horcoff was a player w/ limited talent and lots of heart. He's a meat and potatoes kind of player, and sopmeone who I thought was sincere. That being said as a captain of any team - especially an NHL club in a fish bowl like Edmonton - one needs to conduct one's self like a captain. Recently, I saw a side of Shawn Horcoff that made me shake my head, and wonder if indeed he is worthy of wearing the 'C'. I was attending the exclusive photo opp at the Shaw Conference Centre for season ticket holders and as I was walking up to the doors I saw Horcoff and two other players walking in. Within ear shot, Horcoff exclaimed that he couldn't fu%$ing believe they had to hold this event at the Shaw, and why could they not have held it at Rexall like last year. Does he care what the fans think, or hear for that matter. Shame on you! Although this was but a mere seconds in the life of Shawn Horcoff as captain - sadly his tact and behavior speak volumes.

The comment you heard could have easily been taken out of context, do you know for sure that rexall place was available that night and not being used for a concert or one of the many other events that go on there?

Also, I've got a friend that is a camera man on the OIL CHANGE series, he's got alot of insight into the dressing room that does not get put into OIL CHANGE.

But lets leave it at this one point that in my mind makes Mr. Horcoff deserving of the "C". He shows up in traing camp in better physical condition than ANYBODY else on this team by a country mile.

nuff said....

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#39 rubbertrout
April 05 2012, 02:03PM
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@russ99

I wouldn't mind seeing Belanger as captain next year.

Really?

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#40 Wäx Män Riley
April 05 2012, 04:05PM
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David S wrote:

I'm taking a big risk here because this'll probably come off like me being a dick. So I'll start by saying I don't blame Horcoff because he's getting paid too much as that was entirely not his doing. Someone decided to pay him that big wad of cash based on whatever qualities they thought they saw at the time. Fine. And I admire him being a decent, upstanding guy both at the rink (as far as I can see as a fan) and in the community at large. Double fine.

That being said I think there's a big difference between being a team spokesperson and a team leader. On the former I have alot of respect for Shawn taking the media brunt after every mailed-in effort or mistake-laden loss. On the latter, I've watched countless games this year where the opposing team's captain was their most inspiring player, leading by grit, skill and shear desire to win. To a one they make an impact on the game. By comparison, Horcoff more often than not wasn't even in the same universe.

At the end of the day I don't care how good a captain is in front of a camera. I care how great a leader he is on the ice, because that's where games are won and lost. Great captains are winners by example. They will their teams to win and have the ability to throw the game on their backs if that's what it takes. That list up above in the article proves it. By that metric Shawn Horcoff is not a good captain.

Maybe he's the perfect captain for a team that has no (real) desire to win. But when the day comes we decide winning might actually be important, we'll have to find a captain worthy of those same sentiments. One who will lead by example, lay it on the line every game and dare his teammates to step up by his actions on the ice. We desperately need a new Mark Messier. I think his name is Taylor Hall.

I respect your posts, David, and you have some points here, but what you are talking about is talent. Hall has that superstar talent. Pronger has that superstar talent. Chara (from what I read in the post above) is a superstar talent.

When I read the quotes from the players above, especially this one:

Sam Gagner: “Everybody’s going to be behind him and look to him for guidance. He’s the right guy and it’s a great fit for us… guys call him the GM because of how organized he is, and how he's just got everything so taken care of.”

Guys call him the GM. I just think there is more to leading than putting up points.

Do I think Horcoff is the best captain in history? Not a chance. Will he be captain when this team is ready to contend? Maybe in his last year, but I see Hall taking it over. At this point, he is the best man for the job.

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#41 etownman
April 05 2012, 05:31PM
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D-Man wrote:

He excels at dealing with the media along with sheltering the kids from the spotlight... He comes to camp year after year in tip top shape... Taylor Hall said Horc would be his choice...

Horcoff is the right choice for captain - get past his contract, that's what many of the Horcoff haters see... He's an effective 3rd line center on any team in the NHL.... Right now - he's being asked to do more than he's capable...

Keep in mind - chances are good, he won't be captain once his contract comes up after the 2014/15 season... I also wouldn't be shocked if he pulls a Lee Fogolin after the 2013/14 season giving up his "C" to one of the kids anyway... The kids aren't ready for that type of scrutiny yet - patience, Etownman, patience...

D-man, the question simply was 'is Horcoff a good captain'? I simply answered 'no' in my opinion. Never mentioned his contract!

Smid always comes to camp in great shape, should he be captain? I'm not a Horcoff hater, I just don't think he's the guy to be captain of the Oilers! Over the past two years I've never heard so much dissension coming out of the Oilers locker room & it has to affect the product on the ice somewhat.

I don't know what he's being asked to do outside of the captain's duties but these are some of the issues good captain's know how to deal with, part of the job!

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#42 Milli
April 05 2012, 05:35PM
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I refuse to talk about Horc's contract. I will say I was starting to think it is Hall or Ebs time, but JW, you nailed it! It will be the kids with letters soon, but there is really no need for a change today. One year or two or three, who knows but it will happen and they will be alot further along the path to sucsess and able to handle it.

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#43 Rama Lama
April 05 2012, 06:32PM
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Horcoff is a well spoken individual with loads of management potential.......no doubt about that!

This question of " Is Horcoff a good captain " cannot be answered because the litmus test for captaincy in the NHL is that ususlly the captain is your best player!

On that front Horcoff should be considered the worst captain in the NHL.......his skills are best suited for the ECHL.

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#44 jon
April 05 2012, 06:40PM
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I can't believe people by this fairytale. If a company is a complete failure but everyone still loves the boss, what do you do? Get rid of the boss. Hockey comes down to what you show on the ice, not what comes out of your mouth. The guy can't play, he may be a great guy, but he is outmatched night in and night out. It's like a broken record. WAKE UPPPPPPPPPPP

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#45 jon
April 05 2012, 06:47PM
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I forgot Horc games 79 goals 13 assists 21 points 34 plus/minus -22 = who cares if he is a good captain, he sucks hind

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#46 Don
April 08 2012, 09:49AM
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Im an former Notre Dame Hound during the Pere Murray days and played a lot of good hockey...what a joke this article was, including some of the comments...this is profesional hockey and the whole idea is to win...when you have a complete loser of a player, not to mention pathetic performance leading a team...no wonder Edmonton is so pathetic...players want to me motivated by a winner...and Horcoff isnt that..he has now proven it by his worst season ever...Jordan Eberle in only his second season blew all the Oilers out on a rookie salary...when the other guys in the locker room look at a total loser like Horcoff making 7 million and scoring seven goals...do they really want to get motivated...look in the mirror all you arm chair idiots...lol...get rid of Gagner too...get some men on the team... not some five foot Junior midgets...

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