Last night I didn’t think much of the news that the Philadelphia Flyers named Claude Giroux their newest captain. It was an unsurprising move and pretty much expected to say the least. What got my gears turning to write this piece, however, was seeing a Flyers fan I follow on Twitter retweet something from, I assume, a writer or TV/Radio media member for the Flyers.
The tweet, to paraphrase, basically said that Giroux’s appointment to Captain that you needed to look no further than the opening shift of game 6 against the Pens in the first round as proof positive this was the right choice.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That I am just some bitter Penguins fan who just can’t get over a disappointing and embarrassing first round exit at the hands of the hated Commonwealth rivals. While, I don’t blame you one bit for thinking that, that’s not where I am going with this at all. I just can’t get on board with encapsulating a player is justifiably suited for the Captaincy by just rolling a singluar moment and say “Here! This is why!!”
Let’s dissect that play to my chagrin:
-It was hard to see the faceoff from the NBC feed, but Giroux won it and looked to almost push Sid a little as Carle took the puck.
-The only reason this crowd pleasing hit even happened was because Jagr wasn’t able to coral the puck at the Penguins blue line. It compounds with Sid reaching to poke the puck up in to the neutral zone. It wouldn’t be accurate to say Giroux was hunting the hit, he was heading to the puck and made a quick change to go for the hit. Pro move actually.
-The puck goes to Sullivan who goes cross the ice to Dupuis, and puts a wrister off the cage that Bryzgalov catches and holds for a whistle.
-The rest of the goal scoring play was already expertly detailed by Justin Bourne and highly detailed all the ‘just what the &*#@ was Steve Sullivan doing on this play?’
So basically this gleeful time capsule of all that epitomizes what it takes to be a Flyer and their de facto leader is to win a face off, make a stiff open ice body check, and bullet a wrister past the goalie in the first 32 seconds. Oh, and just make sure you do it against your biggest rival, hit the biggest rival on your biggest rival, and make sure you score the goal. One more thing, make sure you ask for the opening shift first too.
“Winners always want the ball…when the game is on the line.”
Narrative is quite boring and archaic at times, isn’t it?
Now I have no issue with Giroux being named Captain. In a sense, I don’t care, I am a Penguins fan not a Flyers fan. Perhaps if there was anyone that could have been a candidate in my mind outside of Giroux, maybe Hartnell. I’m not sure even as respected of a guy in their locker room as Timonen is, that he would be a right choice for the C. But all that is neither here nor there.
Anymore, I think the whole debate and discussion of who deserves to be the Captain is a glorious waste of time. By and large it always seems to go to whomever is the best player on a given team regardless of his leadership capability or style. Really and truly, the Captaincy is nothing more that who has the responsibility to talk the the Referee and the media the most. That’s all it boils down too.
In recent times, I have done a total 180 in regards to my thoughts on the Captaincy. I used to subscribe to the belief of the best player being the Captain. That changed with Zach Parise left as a free agent to sign for big money in Minnesota. No loyalty and that loyalty doesn’t go the other way wither. Mike Richards was jettisoned from Philly, Chris Clark was traded just to make Ovechkin the Captain. Captaincy should, in my eyes go to the best leader on the team and should belong to a respected veteran. Looking back on it, whether if it is Sid’s team or not, perhaps it would have been better suited for Recchi or Gonchar to hold the Captaincy for a year or two while Crosby grew into the role.
Then again, why does it matter anyway. It’s really nothing more than a title.