Why the Rush?

Jason Strudwick
August 07 2013 11:57AM

It has been a few years since the Edmonton Oilers have had to select a new captain. Shawn Horcoff was the obvious choice after Ethan Moreau left. He had been here his whole career and was at the right age to assume the captaincy.

An Easy Choice

When you consider the raw hand that Horcoff was dealt during his time as captain I think he did a pretty good job. He could not control the incredible number of injuries that hammered the team or the strength of the team compared to the rest of the league.

He played hard each night. I always was impressed by his commitment to conditioning. He is the type of player that understands how important spending time in the gym is during the season. When you are losing many players lose interest in doing the extra gym time that is required but his commitment to that was solid. It was a good thing for the newer players to witness.

Win or lose he was always there to stand in front of the media. He was well spoken and understood that as captain it is part of the job to give the media his time and sound bits. I wouldn't imagine it was always fun taking bullets for the rest of the team but that role comes with the "C".

After Moreau left the Oilers, picking a captain for the head coach was pretty easy. Tom Renney was the new head coach for the Oilers but he had been the associate coach under Pat Quinn the year before. He had intimate knowledge of what was going on inside the Oilers dressing room. He knew how each player worked, listened and could possibly lead. He had been studying and watching for a whole season.

A Hard Decision

With Horcoff having been traded this off season the Oilers need a new captain. I don't think it will be so easy this time for new Oiler head coach Dallas Eakins.

Eakins is a first time NHL head coach. He has done everything right to get to this point in his coaching career. He had great coaches when he was a player with many of them influencing his coaching style. He also has coached at different levels and in different roles to get to this point, coaching the Oilers.

But... he doesn't know any of the core players in the Oilers dressing room. They are all new to him. New Oilers GM Craig Mactavish has said the selection of the new captain will be left up to Eakins.

How do you walk into the NHL as a new coach and pick a captain before the season starts? You don't. I don't think Eakins should name a captain until he has had time to get to know his team.

Imagine walking into a room full of twenty five people you don't know and in two weeks having to select the leader of those people. Very tough.

If Eakins can turn this group of players into the type of team he talks about Eakins could be here in Edmonton for quite a few years. That means the captain he chooses will be his partner for those years as well. This is a decision that he wants to get right.

I know that the same assistants are coming back to support Eakins along with Keith Acton. They could give him their input but as the new coach do you want to base you choice for captain on someone else's opinion?

Why rush it?

An NHL captain should help his coach promote the style of play the coach is laying out for the team. The captain is a conduit between the players and the coaches. Is important that the coach trust his captain one hundred percent.

You can get to know a player/person through off ice meetings. I bet Eakins has met with some of the core players for the Oilers since his hiring. He wants to get to know them and them him before the season starts. But those types of meetings are always fun and easy in the summer.

After those types of meeting I expect Eakins to know Taylor Hall's goals for the season or Eberle's family story but he has no idea how those two or any of his players will react in a very tough game. Or how they will deal with a slump or injury. Or how they will react to a super-hot streak or someone else's hot streak.

These types of actual "in season" situations are impossible to replicate during the off season.

So I come back to the point of this whole article. How can a Eakins be expected to pick a the new captain for the Oilers when he doesn't know the type of captain this team needs or the type of people inside his locker room? He can't.

I think Eakins should announce the first day of camp that he will delay making his choice for captain. He should say he wants to study the group and the individuals so that he can make the right choice for the long term.

I would have no issue with the decision taking till Christmas or beyond. I played on a New York Ranger team that didn't have a captain all season. We all knew Jagr was the captain but he didn't want it on his jersey. We made the playoffs and the dressing room was a strong one.

The choice was so obvious there, it isn't as clear for the Oilers. Give it time Eakins, get it right. Don't rush a decision.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#1 oldhippy
August 07 2013, 12:13PM
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How about a short term captain?

I think it would be a nice gesture to make Smyth the captain. We all know this will be his last season. He bled for the team. He gave up teeth for the team. He has taken tons of punishment for the team. It would show the young guys that commitment is valued by the Oilers.

Hall drove the bus last season, and if he repeats that performance in 2013/14, then he will be the guy in 2014.

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#2 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
August 07 2013, 12:17PM
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I'm still betting on Hall getting the call. He's got the give em hell attitude that this team desperately needs. In my opinion, a captain's gotta be someone who can carry the team on his back when they're dragging ass, and I don't know how many times the last couple years Hall has been the only Oiler to actually show up.

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#3 Action Jackson
August 07 2013, 12:18PM
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I think it will be a tough decision. I mean there is Hall....and...Hall...and Hall.

Unless you want to give it to Yaks (which would be aaaaaamazing) I think the choice is pretty clear even to an outsider.

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#4 csaw84
August 07 2013, 12:36PM
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You gotta think that Gagner might be in the mix. You can say all you want about his size, faceoff ability and offense, But he plays hard and has great character.

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#5 2004Z06
August 07 2013, 12:03PM
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I hope the Oilers do show some patience here. While I think Hall is likely, I don't think he is ready just yet.

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#6 D
August 07 2013, 12:05PM
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It's best to make a thoughtful decision on this matter rather than a rushed decision.

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#7 WhattaMike
August 07 2013, 01:36PM
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IMO, the best player while combined with being the leadership type guy the team needs in the dressing room should be the next captain of the Oilers.

About Taylor Hall....he is now 21 yrs old and will be turning 22 just after when the season starts (Nov). This will be his 4th season in the NHL and he has now been thru part of the Oilers bad yrs. For Taylor...He wants this "bad" ended now!!!! - and I like this.

As for accountability for himself and team ... he speaks his mind/opinions graciously and openly in public/to media...which is excellent. As well,...they (media and many scouts primarily) all now pretty much say and agree upon that Hall is a beast on the ice. He is a deserved new rising NHL all-star. He finished in the top ten in scoring this last yr and therefore... also lead his team as well.

He previously lead his Windsor Spitfires to two consecutive winning memorial cups thru both skills/talent and belief in himself/team.

Look just back even at when during the memorial cup rounds when Hamonic grossly pasted him into the boards and then Taylor rose (slowly) then very quickly scored a high-light reel goal. It was Inspiring and Awesome!

I have seen Hall lead on the ice already for the Oilers... with either his play or even his looks and type conversing on the bench with others. I saw him quite correctly (as a type winner)question Tom Renney on a stupid pulled goaltender situation.

By all I wrote...I completely support...that Taylor Hall absolutely is the right next captain for the Edmonton Oilers and it is the right time to give it to him. We have seen worse captains on the Oil such as Shayne Corson (example) and Hall is far better than that.

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#8 The Soup Fascist
August 07 2013, 12:16PM
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oldhippy wrote:

How about a short term captain?

I think it would be a nice gesture to make Smyth the captain. We all know this will be his last season. He bled for the team. He gave up teeth for the team. He has taken tons of punishment for the team. It would show the young guys that commitment is valued by the Oilers.

Hall drove the bus last season, and if he repeats that performance in 2013/14, then he will be the guy in 2014.

Nice sentiment, but I am not sure a 4LW or press box Captain does anyone any favours. I think for Smyth to hope to be effective this year there are nights he needs to be eating popcorn in the pressbox.

Making Smyth captain complicates that decision.

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#9 marty62
August 07 2013, 12:10PM
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I think a few weeks is enough, especially around a team. hang around a team all day everyday for 2 weeks and you will know who the guys follow and look to for leadership. its not rocket science.

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#10 Pucker - B class
August 07 2013, 12:16PM
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it's easy.

After they trade Hemsky, Omark and the rights to Roustalanin for Weber, Weber gets named captain.

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#11 Tikkanese
August 07 2013, 12:58PM
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I can't wait for Smyth to shut you idiots up. The lockout season was a bad season for many players not having to play with Belanger. Smyth had to deal with both things. Playing out of position at Center when Belanger was hurt didn't help matters at all either. Smyth is effective in front of the net and along the boards, not worrying about covering the entire ice and faceoffs.

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#12 spoils
August 07 2013, 12:16PM
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Waiting for the true Captain to emerge makes sense to me. I like Hall's raw talent but I think RNH has the higher IQ (in the traditional sense) and bigger long term upside. Not hearing a lot of talk about RNH.

Could Smythy be the Captain and cheat time in a final year? Give us the chance for the RNH v Hall v ??? leadership question to settle out.

That said, if Smythy ends up a healthy scratch...

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#13 hags9k
August 07 2013, 12:48PM
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Sure, take your time coach as long as in the end it's Hall. :)

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#14 oldhippy
August 07 2013, 12:55PM
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@Woogie63

Do you see the Oilers winning the cup this year? I get that Toews is a talented player and a great captain. I get that Chara was a huge part of the Bruins cup win. The Oilers aren't there yet. Like I said about Fogolin, he wasn't the captain when the Oilers went to the Finals. He was an interim until Gretzky had the age and respect necessary.

And really guys, I know Smyth has lost a step and isn't the player he was. I know He will be a healthy scratch. I know he wouldn't be everyone's choice, but does he deserve the amount of derision he gets?

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#15 The Soup Fascist
August 07 2013, 12:13PM
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Jason,

I appreciate you have lived through it and had no issue without a set captain in NYC, but anecdotally I seem to rememember a lot of bad teams with co-captains, rotating captains or three assistants - the Minnesota Wild under Jacques Lemaire come to mind as do a bad Buffalo Sabres team.

Some (can)knuckleheads even tried to make a goalie their captain!

The Oilers NEED to make the playoffs this year - or die trying. They cannot get off to a slow start. Would they not be better off making a Ference or Smid the captain with the understanding a year or two from now, one of the kids is going to wear the "C" - a'la Lee Fogolin?

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#16 Spydyr
August 07 2013, 12:27PM
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spoils wrote:

Waiting for the true Captain to emerge makes sense to me. I like Hall's raw talent but I think RNH has the higher IQ (in the traditional sense) and bigger long term upside. Not hearing a lot of talk about RNH.

Could Smythy be the Captain and cheat time in a final year? Give us the chance for the RNH v Hall v ??? leadership question to settle out.

That said, if Smythy ends up a healthy scratch...

Don't you mean when Smyth ends up a healthy scratch?

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#17 Butters
August 07 2013, 12:53PM
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This team belongs to the kids now. They have the keys. Give one of them the 'C'(Hall) imho.

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#18 Walter Sobchak
August 07 2013, 12:57PM
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You have to give your captaincy to best player!

The player who goes as your team goes.

Giving Eakins sole decision making for the Captiancy is not a smart plan here, nor is giving Smid or Ference the Captiancy.

First, Ference doesn't need to wear a letter to be a leader, nor does Smid.

As an orginization you want the face of your franchise to be the leader, the inspiration for your players, the fans and the community.

Hall has to be the Captian, it would be an orginization fail if he's not. Also the sooner the better.

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#19 Harry
August 07 2013, 11:38PM
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Are you people insane!!?? Ference? Really?! A first year player on the team after a guy like Hall? Taylor Hall is absolutely everytjing you want in a captain. Among plently of other things the guy absolutley HATES to lose. Hes the kind of player that will put the team on his back on the odd night and grind out a win.

HALL WILL BE CAPTAIN BY DECEMBER

COUNT ON IT!

Ference? Wow

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#20 Racki
August 07 2013, 12:21PM
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Jason, Million dollar question.. I know a lot of faces changed since you last played here, but who are your favorites to captain the team? Or if you'd say it.. Your #1 choice.

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#21 Cal Oatway
August 07 2013, 12:44PM
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Personally, I think the holder of the "C" should be the best player on the team as well a the person who displays top leadership qualities. When your one of the best on the team, you can expect the same from your team mates. As much as I like Horcoff and respect him as a "class act", its hard to lead when your on the third line and producing sub par results. you cannot expect 100% from others and expect others to follow, unless you lead by example. The Oilers have a few good candidates and for them to make the playoffs, they will need to be able to lead, hold accountability, kick ass and become the face of the team.

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#22 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
August 07 2013, 12:25PM
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spoils wrote:

Waiting for the true Captain to emerge makes sense to me. I like Hall's raw talent but I think RNH has the higher IQ (in the traditional sense) and bigger long term upside. Not hearing a lot of talk about RNH.

Could Smythy be the Captain and cheat time in a final year? Give us the chance for the RNH v Hall v ??? leadership question to settle out.

That said, if Smythy ends up a healthy scratch...

I think if you can toss around that last sentence without a ton of argument, you can safely take Smyth's name out of the running.

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#23 Geoff
August 07 2013, 07:57PM
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Oh just pick Hall already. He is the leader dude of the super kiddies and everybody knows it!

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#24 Gret99zky
August 07 2013, 11:08PM
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Roshambo.

It's the only way.

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#25 oldhippy
August 07 2013, 12:27PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Nice sentiment, but I am not sure a 4LW or press box Captain does anyone any favours. I think for Smyth to hope to be effective this year there are nights he needs to be eating popcorn in the pressbox.

Making Smyth captain complicates that decision.

I hear you, but I think this is a special circumstance. I would certainly be happy if Smyth were to be in the press box in the second half of back to back games.

You know, it hasn't always been the most talented player on the team wearing the C. Foglin was a great captain, showing intensity and commitment, while being in the third pairing D. McTavish was the captain when he was 3C. Also not unheard of to have more than one Captain. If Smyth plays 70 games, the other 12 could be covered by the possible successors.

Nobody has really done Smyth's job in front of the net since he was traded away. I'd like to see him get some p/p time. Show the young guys how to battle. Unless Hall is named captain at the start of the season, whoever is named will only be temporary until Hall has reached an age where he will have the respect of veterans that are new to the team.

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#26 toprightcorner
August 07 2013, 01:05PM
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Cal Oatway wrote:

Personally, I think the holder of the "C" should be the best player on the team as well a the person who displays top leadership qualities. When your one of the best on the team, you can expect the same from your team mates. As much as I like Horcoff and respect him as a "class act", its hard to lead when your on the third line and producing sub par results. you cannot expect 100% from others and expect others to follow, unless you lead by example. The Oilers have a few good candidates and for them to make the playoffs, they will need to be able to lead, hold accountability, kick ass and become the face of the team.

Based on this theory, you think Kessel, Subban, Vanek, Flieschman, Gaborik and Bufeglien should all be captains of their team?

Do you think Brett Hull should have been captain of all of the teams he played for?

Best player had nothing to do with best leader.

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#27 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
August 07 2013, 01:46PM
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@oldhippy

I think your comparison to Mario is a little off, because he was given the captaincy when he was the best player on the ice. Additionally, taking the captaincy away from a player has a much different connotation than never giving it to them.

I think the best way to describe my position would be to draw an analogy to the business world.

Imagine two employees are being considered for the same managerial position in a company. One is 2-3 years away from retirement and has been a faithful employee for 30 years, and the other has been with the company for 5-10 years, but has the potential to be the future CEO if he maintains his current career trajectory. It is important to acknowledge the older employee's contributions to the company, but if you are making a business decision you have to consider two primary issues:

1) Is the impending retirement of the older employee a potential detriment to the company (ie. lack of continuity)

2) Which employee is able to effectively connect with their direct reports to ensure that they meet their potential

With respect to issue 1, I'd say it's dangerous to downplay the importance of continuity. How do you think the revolving door of head coaches has affected this team?

With respect to issue 2, Gen Y is probably the least likely generation in 100 years to follow a leader because of their prior contributions. Speaking as someone who was born in the mid-'80s, I can tell you that I'm motivated by leaders who garner respect by doing their job well, rather than pointing to their resume.

Disclaimer: There are obviously several more considerations in hiring, but these are the two that best fit the analogy I was making.

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#28 Ron Burgundy
August 07 2013, 01:47PM
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csaw84 wrote:

You gotta think that Gagner might be in the mix. You can say all you want about his size, faceoff ability and offense, But he plays hard and has great character.

He is also a good candidate to perfectly fit the recent(ish) trend of us running our captain out of town once we have fastened goat horns to his head...

I know its August 7 and there's nothing else to talk about, but from a fans perspective I'm not sure why any of us care. Isn't the C more of an honorary thing? I mean, leaders are leaders regardless of the letter on their sweater, and stuff goes on in the dressing room we will never know about. Example - when Gretz was Captain do you think nobody listened to Messier?

The room will figure it out regardless of who Eakins picks, or when. And in that case I'd like to look back at the list of captains of the Oilers some day and see Smytty's name.

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#29 oldhippy
August 07 2013, 02:09PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Cool analogy.

Being a boomer and a tradesman, I rarely saw the best tradesman elevated to the foreman's rank. (and rarely did they aspire to be that guy) The push on a project was often the best guy on that job, but not the over-all leader. Occasionally a foreman was somebody who was close to retirement and acted as a mentor, passing on years of acquired knowledge. Experiments with super tradesmen as leaders rarely worked, as they could not relate to their peers.

Not sure any analogy outside of sport, works.

Hall is going to be the captain on this team, sooner or later. I would rather it be later. I would rather he wait one more year. I see him being Toews eventually, but he isn't there yet.

Play devil's advocate. Hall named captain, Oilers struggle, Hall continues to play well, but with fewer goals. Do you take the captaincy away? I would rather the Oilers wait one more year. One more year of improvement and development. He's 21 and signed to a six year contract. There is time to honour age, youth will always be served.

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#30 The_CWD_GarbageMan
August 07 2013, 03:01PM
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My vote is for Gags. Listening to Gags speak he is very engaging because of this unforgettable wisdom which he possess. Considering he is only 6 months older than Eberle, it appears he conducts his personal life as if he was a medical student as opposed to a beer tub girl.

The entire dressing room has missed having that 'movie star' in the group that everyone looks up to off the ice (since the departure of Souray or Stoll). Gags is not that movie star that Stollie/Souray was to the boys, but to Hall, Ebs, RNH,and Yak, Gags is kind of the old grandfather they look to for that swagger and wisdom. He is still very young, that movie start leader ideally would be in their late 20's, but beggars can't be choosers.

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#31 Pouzar99
August 07 2013, 04:23PM
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First of all this is an excellent column that only a thoughtful and reflective ex-player could write with such authority and perception. So thank you, Jason. As fans we sometimes have to accept our limitations. We see what happens on the ice, but we don't see what happens in the dressing room, or on the plane or during practices, etc. We don't know who the other players respect the most and are more likely to follow.

Like most posters, Hall seems to me to be the logical choice based on his on-ice performance and his obvious burning desire to win, but that choice should be made by the coach based on his observation of the complete picture which we lack, and there is no reason to rush that decision before he is comfortable he is making the right one.

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#32 nuge2nail
August 07 2013, 09:37PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

When Hall goes 100mph crashing into the net or boards...

It's going to be real nice saying, "rest of the team has to get pumped seeing their captain flying up and down the ice, no fear of injury, just all heart"

He leads by example, and he's the leader of the super kids, this is a no brainer...

Blackhawks did it with Toews, Pens with Crosby, it's time for the Oilers to pass the torch to the youth...

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#33 LinkfromHyrule
August 07 2013, 12:35PM
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I agree with this 100%. The impression I get from Eakins is that he understands this (I hope). I can see one of the kids getting the C, more than likely hall, but we will see.

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#34 The Soup Fascist
August 07 2013, 01:00PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

I disagree with your thoughts on Minnesota or Buffalo as they always played far above their talent level and their success can only be measured by the talent the team had and the coaching system. A good captain does not instantly make a team successful.

With Minnesota, the team voted every month on who they felt showed the best leadership qualities over the past month and that is how they chose their captain. This builds multiple leaders who can all pick each other up and all feel responsible for leading the team to success. that's how team chemistry is built and how everyone gets on the same page. This methods have players rise to the challenge, not get rewarded because of on ice performance, fan popularity or cap hit. The players will follow who they believe in so who better than the player they voted in as the captain of the month.

A good captain can benefit a team but only to a certain level but a bad captain can destroy even the most talented of teams. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and the longer Eakins waits to make that decision, the better.

Rotating captains could really give this team the unity it needs with so many new faces and could bring a lot more out of some players than expected. At the end of one season, the true leader will rise to the top and that person should be the captain, no matter what number is on his jersey.

Agree to disagree. To paraphrase an old football axiom about quarterbacks .... If you have a bunch of captains ...... you don't have a captain.

To add: IIRC Lemaire actually selected the captain of the month, but I am not certain - you could be correct that it was a player vote. Either way, the captain of the month thing seems like something that would happen in Pee Wee House League, not the NHL.

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#35 seanjohn667
August 07 2013, 10:16PM
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blah, blah, blah. do it this way, do it that... whatever. in the end Taylor Hall will be the captain.

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#36 Sanaa Montana
August 07 2013, 12:39PM
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Smid, Ference, Eberle and Hall will all wear an A to start the season.

If Eakins decides to put a C on someone to start the season, in my opinion, it will be Ference. Due to the respect the Oilganization has for Smyth-I can't see that happening.

They will go with 4 As, and sometime during this season, or next year give the C to Hall.

I'm really hoping Smyth retires at the beggining on the season, I don't see his body or play surving the whole year with the Oilers. How much cap space would his retirement clear?

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#37 Spydyr
August 07 2013, 01:11PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I can't wait for Smyth to shut you idiots up. The lockout season was a bad season for many players not having to play with Belanger. Smyth had to deal with both things. Playing out of position at Center when Belanger was hurt didn't help matters at all either. Smyth is effective in front of the net and along the boards, not worrying about covering the entire ice and faceoffs.

Is it 2006 again. No? Smyth is washed, done, over ,caput.

Sad to watch a once awesome player stay too long.

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#38 oilerman53
August 07 2013, 09:17PM
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This is Taylor Halls team now, he lead the Spitfires to back to back Memorial Cups. When hes out there running and gunning the team follows suit, hes been being groomed to lead this team to the promised land ever since he was drafted. He has his two gunslingers as assistants in Eberle and Nuge. Hall took the turn to superstar status last season, when he goes the team follows.

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#39 Darrell
August 07 2013, 12:08PM
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I think wearing the "A" is probably the safest route. The Captain and Coach are always the first to go around here while the side kicks keep their jobs without accountability.

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#40 toprightcorner
August 07 2013, 12:55PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Jason,

I appreciate you have lived through it and had no issue without a set captain in NYC, but anecdotally I seem to rememember a lot of bad teams with co-captains, rotating captains or three assistants - the Minnesota Wild under Jacques Lemaire come to mind as do a bad Buffalo Sabres team.

Some (can)knuckleheads even tried to make a goalie their captain!

The Oilers NEED to make the playoffs this year - or die trying. They cannot get off to a slow start. Would they not be better off making a Ference or Smid the captain with the understanding a year or two from now, one of the kids is going to wear the "C" - a'la Lee Fogolin?

I disagree with your thoughts on Minnesota or Buffalo as they always played far above their talent level and their success can only be measured by the talent the team had and the coaching system. A good captain does not instantly make a team successful.

With Minnesota, the team voted every month on who they felt showed the best leadership qualities over the past month and that is how they chose their captain. This builds multiple leaders who can all pick each other up and all feel responsible for leading the team to success. that's how team chemistry is built and how everyone gets on the same page. This methods have players rise to the challenge, not get rewarded because of on ice performance, fan popularity or cap hit. The players will follow who they believe in so who better than the player they voted in as the captain of the month.

A good captain can benefit a team but only to a certain level but a bad captain can destroy even the most talented of teams. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and the longer Eakins waits to make that decision, the better.

Rotating captains could really give this team the unity it needs with so many new faces and could bring a lot more out of some players than expected. At the end of one season, the true leader will rise to the top and that person should be the captain, no matter what number is on his jersey.

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#41 Will
August 07 2013, 01:03PM
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Struds how important is the in room personality to gaining captaincy, and or being respected once it is gained? I ask because in terms of on ice give a crap, Hall seems to be the clear cut winner. In terms of off ice work ethic, again from what I've heard Hall is a cut above. In terms of wanting to win and demonstrating that every single shift, he also once again seems to lead here. I mean, the kid got his face stepped on and was on the bike seeing if he could return that freakin night. Finally, he is great with the media, always taking a loss on his shoulders, and dishing credit for a win to the rest of the team, all while holding himself and others accountable for any losses. It never seems okay to lose with Hall.

From all accounts, the only spots where he might be lacking are his communication with the Refs, and perhaps how he gels in the dressing room. That last one seems a bit strange since he's obviously good friends with Ebs, Nuge and J Schultz.

So my only question is what is holding Hall back from from getting the C?

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#42 Sanaa Montana
August 07 2013, 01:03PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I can't wait for Smyth to shut you idiots up. The lockout season was a bad season for many players not having to play with Belanger. Smyth had to deal with both things. Playing out of position at Center when Belanger was hurt didn't help matters at all either. Smyth is effective in front of the net and along the boards, not worrying about covering the entire ice and faceoffs.

cool story bro

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#43 Chaz
August 07 2013, 01:08PM
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spoils wrote:

Waiting for the true Captain to emerge makes sense to me. I like Hall's raw talent but I think RNH has the higher IQ (in the traditional sense) and bigger long term upside. Not hearing a lot of talk about RNH.

Could Smythy be the Captain and cheat time in a final year? Give us the chance for the RNH v Hall v ??? leadership question to settle out.

That said, if Smythy ends up a healthy scratch...

Good point on RNH. If he emerges as an elite player as I think he might this year giving the C to Hall might prove to be premature in hindsight.

I'd say someone like Ference would be ideal as a short-term solution as we wait for one of the kids to emerge as the captain of the future. Won a cup and has been to the finals twice in the last three years. Would be great to have someone who knows what it takes to win as the C for now. Seems to have the right personality for it for what I can see.

As far as Smytty goes, that ship has sailed. Can't have someone fighting to stay in the lineup as your Captain.

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#44 Sanaa Montana
August 07 2013, 01:12PM
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Chaz wrote:

Good point on RNH. If he emerges as an elite player as I think he might this year giving the C to Hall might prove to be premature in hindsight.

I'd say someone like Ference would be ideal as a short-term solution as we wait for one of the kids to emerge as the captain of the future. Won a cup and has been to the finals twice in the last three years. Would be great to have someone who knows what it takes to win as the C for now. Seems to have the right personality for it for what I can see.

As far as Smytty goes, that ship has sailed. Can't have someone fighting to stay in the lineup as your Captain.

If we're going to wait on RNH, we might as well wait on Yakupov as well. No?

If timid little RNH is to be considered, then Yakupov deserve a chance too.

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#45 vetinari
August 07 2013, 01:30PM
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I would think that Eakins could easily wait until Christmas or New Year's to name a captain, and go with 3 or 4 AC's in the interim (maybe pair a youngster with a hardworking vet and rotate them around until January-- like Hall and Ference take home games and Eberle and Smid take road games?). Eakins can approach it like an audition for the captain's chair. If one of the kids is ready for the captaincy, then name them on January 1st. If the kids aren't ready for it yet or the team is in the basement again, then name a vet who can handle the load in an interim basis.

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#46 russ99
August 07 2013, 03:30PM
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Ference is my guy for the "C".

He's a leader, has experience of how a team gets from where the Oilers are now to cup contention and has a ring.

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#47 westcoastoil
August 07 2013, 04:24PM
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Struds - I recall seeing/reading an item at the time Moreau was made it was somewhat of a tradition on the club that the outgoing captain would give his input and to who the next captain should be...and this was often followed.

different circumstances here because (I think for the first time) there's a change of coach and captain in the same season.

If Hall isn't ready (and I think he may be) a possible solution is to name Smyth captain as that would set up a transition year until next season when the coach knows his players better and the leadership role is evident.

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#48 WhattaMike
August 07 2013, 04:48PM
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In post #47, I wrote a fair bit on why Taylor Hall should be the next captain of the Oilers...and i still stand by that post with my reasoning and my opinions. With regards to those who are stating that one of Smyth or Ference should be a type temp captain, I ask why to do this when... it is Hall who will be leading this team forward by performance and talent and will-power like as he should be?

Fact: It is an entire new era with the Oilers right now...a new GM, a new coach, and now - a new captain..and it's not a total rebuild still or a blast from the past regime either.

Smyth would be but just an honorary named captain at this stage and... with this surely being his last yr on the Oilers, him being named would stunt the year for the Oilers again (no disrepsect meant to him). It should have been Smyth being named the captain awhile ago when Moreau was let go but it did not happen then...nor should this happen now.

Ference, being a possible other good choice... did not grow with this teamn or lose with this team these past few years and also, he comes at the near end of his career...so this would also stunt the dressing room growth of the team in some ways.

These two players are of excellent calibre to be leaders but their time to be captain is gone. Taylor is here for the next 6 yrs plus and it is his time to speak, to show, and to lead...now!!! My support reasons are some that are listed back in post #47.

Ference and Smyth know they don't need the C or the A to show their near career ending leadership abilities and for the guys they are...they are already fully respected in the room always...

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#49 K_Mart
August 08 2013, 07:39AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You have to give your captaincy to best player!

The player who goes as your team goes.

Giving Eakins sole decision making for the Captiancy is not a smart plan here, nor is giving Smid or Ference the Captiancy.

First, Ference doesn't need to wear a letter to be a leader, nor does Smid.

As an orginization you want the face of your franchise to be the leader, the inspiration for your players, the fans and the community.

Hall has to be the Captian, it would be an orginization fail if he's not. Also the sooner the better.

Are you in the dressing room? On the bench between shifts? I know it seems obvious to an outsider, and Hall is likely the rightchoice, but you just ccan't know for sure unless you've spent a good chunk of time with each player.

Ovechkin was the wrong choice IMO. Just an example of how the face of the franchise shouldn't always be captain.

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#50 Sanaa Montana
August 07 2013, 12:46PM
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Darrell wrote:

I think wearing the "A" is probably the safest route. The Captain and Coach are always the first to go around here while the side kicks keep their jobs without accountability.

I'll use the words of Scott Storch and Timothy Mosley: cry me a river.

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