With the departure of Captain Ethan Moreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it is time once again to dust off an old argument that has laid dormant for the past few weeks as we all fawned over the 2010 Entry Draft.
Once hypothetical, it is now of the utmost importance for any Oiler fan drawing air into his or her lungs with any great regularity.
The search for the 13th Captain of the Edmonton Oilers.
Back in March we threw some science behind this debate, asking in a poll question who the overall type of player the next Captain of the Oilers should be. We didn’t get into particulars of any players within the different categories, leaving it to the wild imaginations of the Citizens of the Nations to fill in the blanks.
Of greater importance was the category of player we thought necessary as the next Captain of the ship.
The poll results broke down as follows:
The lead group – roughly 70% of the OilersNation – are split almost evenly between going with youth for the next Captain of the Oilers and naming an interim Captain – presumably in the interests of holding the “permanent Captaincy” for the next generation of players currently on the way.
These people have chugged the “rebuild and go young” kool aid as dispensed by the Edmonton Oilers hockey club, charmingly setting aside the fact that rebuilding and going young didn’t work in 1992,1996, 1999, 2003, 2004,2007.
But it’s sure to work now because (INSERT FACTS HERE)
The secondary group of fans – the remaining third of the OilersNation – are evenly split between choosing an experienced Captain and trading for a new Captain altogether. We can consider these two groups "hope is already here" and "all hope is lost, trade for hope plz."
Based on these results we will kick around scenarios regarding the candidates for the next Captain of the Oilers. There are several candidates – of various degrees of deservitude – that are already donning the Copper and Blue Jersey.
Here is a cursory look at two of them in the category of "go with experience."
1. ALES HEMSKY
If you subscribe to the idea that your best player should be your Captain, particularly when he only has two more years on his contract and would be a much sought after free agent, then the idea of naming Ales Hemsky as the C13 of the Oilers could hold some serious weight.
Jagr was the Captain of the Rangers back in the day and they had reasonably successful seasons from what we can recall. And as we also recall Renney was the Head Coach there too.
Could the coincidences be ANY more starting?
Drafted 13th overall by the Oil back in 2001, Ales Hemsky has been one of the best Oilers of the past 20 years whether you haters care to admitit or not. In 443 career NHL games he has potted 100 goals while collecting 253 assists for 353 points. This places him 13th in Franchise History for points, a mere 12 points back of Craig Simpson.
Hemsky would have long since blown past the Battle of the Blades champion were it not for a serious shoulder injury that limited him to only 22 games last season. Frustrated by injury and a long term inability to play with world class linemates, there have been some grumblings of late that #83 may not consider Edmonton a part of his long term plans.
Offering the C to lock down a 27 year old who is arguably your best player and entering the prime of his career could be considered sound logic and putting your team on solid ground for years to come. Perhaps he isn’t the most evident leader in the locker room he is the best player the Oilers have/have had/will have for an almost 21 year time span.
And that’s something right there.
Picture if you will for a moment the overall HR strategy cursing our Edmonton Oilers of late. Problems signing UFAs? Check. Problems convincing NHL players Edmonton isn’t the crappiest place on Earth? Check.
It’s clear that the Oilers aren’t going to dig their way out of 30th place in the NHL by signing anyone of any note at any salary approaching sanity. What is needed instead is convincing this new crop of super rookies/sophmores/3rd-yearians that Edmonton is the place to be for the next decade.
Sure, it’s cold. Sure, the nightlife is only 5% better than that of Saskatoon. But sweet beard of Justin Timberlake, there is no better place to be if you like winning at the game of Ice Hockey.
Convincing players that Edmonton and the Oilers are the b-o-m-b is going to be one of the primary jobs of the next Captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Player retention hasn’t been a bigger concern on the horizon since the Oilers used to win Cups by the handful.
Back then Oilers used to flee the City in packs of no less than 100, almost to a man leaving for more money. Since then it has been a mix of financial and sucktitude and dissery of the City.
There is no small market financial cap forcing players to leave for bigger money elsewhere. If the Oil can prudently manage their salary cap issues and if the leader of the Oilers can convince the players around now to make this homebase for the next 10 years, the team will come off bottom with a bang and the UFAs will want to sign by the cartload.
The player to convince everyone to stay here could be Mike Comrie.
Now before you start to wash your eyes out with some variety of salt water brine solution, naming Mike Comrie as the C13 really isn’t that crazy. "Oh really Wanye?" we can hear you saying "then why does it sound so crazy?"
Maybe because you are crazy, that’s why.
Make no mistake – Edmontonians could give two squirts if they see the local squadron summering in Hawrelak Park. So long as you are here during the winter, – putting the biscuit in the basket – you can summer on the far side of the Moon for all we care.
Mike Comrie – locally born player – now living the good life in LA in the offseason exemplifies this to a tee assuming he doesn’t already have a foot in a new City and a contract being drawn up as we speak.
There is also the question of legacy for Comrie. Like it or not, his early promise – tearing the AJHL and the WHL a new poop chute – has evaporated and has left him with a good but not elite career.
How does Comrie want to sit back and reflect upon his career when it is all said and done?
Joining Gretzky, Messier, Lowe, Shayne Corson and the pantheon of Oilers Captains could be one of the few items on his personal bucket list that he may not achieve in his lifetime.
A long shot promotion to the Captains Club might entice #89 and soon-to-arrive family to gut out the next 6 winters in Alberta before retiring to a life of leisure down south.
After all, even Comrie fondly remembers being a child in Edmonton.
Perhaps memories of smashing back slurpees, watching the Oilers in the glory years and collecting O’Pee Chee hockey stickers as a youth will trigger some gene in Comrie’s DNA to want to remain in town for the forseeable future.
Paparazzi free, Hilary "The First Lady" Duff would be free to live her life in relative privacy whilst eyes deep in the snow. Sure people will gawk at her at the Keg, but 30 camera men aren’t waiting outside for a chance to snap a pic.
If you need someone to stand up and say Edmonton isn’t the worst place to be, then a Captain Comrie could be just the ticket. Not only can you be born and play in Edmonton and still land chicks like Hilary Duff, you can be born and play in Edmonton and actually land Hilary Duff.
But then again, it entirely depends on where his head is at. If he is all crazy or something now and is looking to start a career in siging or something random he might be the worst idea on the planet. Hollywood and Edmonton couldn’t be further apart.
These certainly aren’t the only two candidates among the NHL players over say the age of 27. But they are certainly the among the forerunners.
Feel free to refute this and also settle for us whether this clip we found on youtube today is actually footage from a Simpsons episode or an actual ad for Coke.
Seriously, we have no idea. It’s tough to tell what this is*
*That’s what she said.
— Next Up in the Hunt for C13: Trading for the Captain.