Well the most talked about Canucks off-season topic has now been officially announced, and to no ones surprise, Roberto Luongo has resigned himself from the captaincy of the club.
First of all, I guess it should be noted I think this was the right decision. I had no problem with Luongo as the captain, and I think for the most part he stood in there, took the questions, and did a decent job. Roberto is a very intense individual. His desire to win and compete at the highest level cannot be denied. By giving up the captaincy he’s giving himself and his team the best chance to do just that.
There is no doubt that Luongo plays in the most mentally demanding position on the team. In my outsiders opinion, I think the added responsibilities of being the captain of an NHL team only added unnecessary stress to his already challenging job. The media scrums that come with being the captain are a regular occurrence, and on nights when Luongo didn’t play well, or the defense broke down in front of him, it was tough to watch him in those scrums. Your captain should also lead on a nightly basis, and on nights when Luongo didn’t start, or got pulled, that wasn’t an option.
With the mental strain of his position, everything possible should be done to ensure that Roberto only has to concern himself with preparing himself in whatever way he needs to on any given night. Maybe that means he doesn’t speak to the media before games. Yes he’s still a marquee player, and he’ll still be called on to speak to the media, but there will be less expectation to do so and if there is a night where he just doesn’t feel like standing there taking the same old questions, he will have that option.
The captaincy importance itself is a situation fairly unique to hockey with the visible “C” on the jersey, and the fact that only captains are supposed to speak with officials. But I think it’s safe to say that the players themselves realize it takes a team effort to win, and not just a great leader wearing a letter on their jersey. It matters a lot less to them who the captain of the team is. It’s a much bigger deal to the media and the fans, and this decision is better or the team.
So who should be the captain of the Vancouver Canucks? There seems to be two public front runners in Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin and both players would be good choices, but I think the players themselves should choose their new captain. I’d even like to see the vote delayed until the preseason comes to an end to let the cream rise to the top. The players in the room know who the leaders are, they should be the ones that elect the successor to Luongo.