Captain Casper

This playoff series has been called by some ‘When the Stars go out’. It seems that every team that has lost their Captain has either mis-stepped or not shown up when it counted. The ‘C’ shouldn’t just stand for Captain, it should stand for clutch, and these men were neither these past few games. Here we’ll break down the big name Captains, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Roberto Luongo and their inability to step up when their team needed them the most.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby was on fire in the series against the Ottawa Senators. More often than not his name was attached to a goal by either pulling the trigger or setting up the play. The Senators had a difficult time shutting down The Kid and many believed that even though Washington had difficulty with the Habs the defending Stanley Cup champions would breeze by. The first game they played the Pens were 4 for 4 on the power play. ‘Experts’ (although Andy Sutton would disagree) were already making the Habs coffin. Unbelievable they said, they’ve already had three more goals than the Capitals did on the PP against the Habs. In this series the numbers don’t do justice to just how effective the Habs were at shutting the Captain down. Two points, negative ratings, and one broken stick out of frustration. Add that boarding penalty ten seconds into game seven and anyone can see that cool, calm, collected Sid had lost it a bit. Make no mistake hockey fans, time off to think and work on what went wrong will only make Sidney a better player. As they said in Mighty Ducks 3, you learn a lot more from a loss than a tie. For Sid, he’ll need to work on that mental game a little more. Given the fact that he has had zero time to rest in the past two years with two dances with Lord Stanley and then the Olympics one can hardly blame him. That being said more than enough people who have little respect for an incredibly talented player will do just that, blame him.

Vancouver Canucks
Where I come from, your goalie is the backbone and your Captain is clutch. When they are one in the same the pressure is doubled and the leadership you need from a Captain is shoved in between the pipes the entire time. The Captain should be someone to lead and allow the goalie to do their job. So maybe it isn’t Roberto Luongo‘s fault entirely. Maybe someone else should be leading the team and he should just be concerned with those rubber black things flying towards him at 90 mph. In the series against the Kings he had a shakey start but after getting pulled was a renewed goalie, putting criticism of the ‘experts’ aside and helping his team get to the second round. Then the Canucks played the Hawks. With much respect to the Hawks their team wasn’t outplaying the Canucks, but Niemi was able to bounce back from bad games with stellar games. Luongo tried to do the same, but was unable to. In the beginning of the series it was Niemi who was giving off ‘out of control’ rebounds and had to be worried about. By the end of the series it was Luongo who could barely hold onto a puck to save his life. Yes he was being crashed, yes he was being screened, but when it counted he was down and out (usually sprawled out like a bear rug on a cabin floor or floating around on his back with his legs kicked up in the air). He was out of position, sloppy, and not leading his team the way a goalie should OR a Captain should.

Washington Capitals
While Alex Ovechkin may be the leading scorer and lead his team in hits, there has been criticism that he is unable to inspire his teammates to play at his level of intensity and passion. He knows how to score, but was he truly the best pick for leading his team? His off ice antics, his controversial hits, surely there’s someone who is better for the job than he? In my opinion a stand-up truly classy guy like Brooks Laich would be perfect for the job. Captain isn’t about who has the most points, it’s about who shows up to the game and has that cool calm exterior in the face of adversary. Laich played well in the series against the Habs, and his good natured demeanor after the game changing a tired in his suit showed many in the hockey world that he possesses many Captain-y traits. He’s a natural leader, speaks with his actions not his words, and his behavior allows the Capitals to focus on the game rather than defend themselves. Do we need to discuss Ovechkin breaking the camera after the Team Russia lost to Team Canada at the Olympics? How about how he sprayed the kid with ice who was standing there with the flag? What about the receipt for all those strippers lap dances and table dances? Moral of the story? Maybe Ovi should concentrate on just being Ovi: a life of luxury and fast cars and even faster women. Let him be careless and reckless and score as much as he wants on and off the ice. Maybe it’s time for a Captain that focuses his energy elsewhere.

In the end, there is only one person here who deserves to be a Captain and that is Sidney Crosby. Let Ovechkin worry about scoring and let someone else do the leading. Let Luongo worry about stopping the puck and let someone else do the leading. Crosby is the only one to lead his team, even if he was unable to do so in the series against the Habs. In the end we will only see disappointment if the Capitals keep Ovi as Captain or the Canucks keep Luongo as Captain (or goalie for that matter.)

  1. May 13, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Another point to make is to mention the Captains that are leading their team, such as Mike Richards – 16 points in 11 games. Jonathan Toews for the Blackhawks, leading all playoff scorers w/ 20 pts – both guys play a ton of minutes and Richards plays all situations. Rob Blake for the Sharks is leading by example in SJ. Habs have guys stepping up all over the place, though Cammalieri is not a captain or alternate. It’s not so much the star quality in my opinion, but who gives it 110% all the time and can carry a team on their back. All the captains can do it (Ovi, Luongo, Sid), but don’t do it all the time in the way the inspires teammates.

    • May 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

      The teams still in the playoffs have had their Captains step up BIG time. This was merely looking at the teams whose Captains had less than spectacular games. That being said it’s a team sport and the reason the Habs are still in it is because EVERY member of their team stepped up and fought for every inch of ice they were ‘given’. They earned the right to advance. As fans we still expect to see certain big names producing. The Habs shut down TWO count ’em two of the three 50 goals+ scorers this season. You don’t do that without a great goaltender and without guys sacrificing themselves to block shots.

  2. May 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

    An interesting point that my husband brought to my attention this morning is that the Habs have no C, but they do have AAA. Maybe that has something to do with all the advancement made this playoff run…??
    (I smell another blog post topic)

  3. Charlie
    May 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Remebmer that charge is in Russian Rubles.. so that lap dance by val is actually only $9 which i know from my experience at the strip club is a great deal, so i would say he’s totally leading by example by saving some money on his lap dances.

  4. Charlie
    May 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I’d also like to nominate Zdeno Chara to this list.

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