How to Lose Free Agents and Alienate Veterans

Step 1: Honor a child with your captaincy!!!

Straight from the WWL: Blackhawks name Toews Captain. You got to be shitting me.

When in the hell did this practice become an option? I assume the vast majority of NHL players grew up in the same leadership environment as I did; when it comes to choosing the C, the options begin and end with the most experienced players. And now the NHL is adopting a practice that spits in the face of this successful, and logical, method. This shit is ass-backwards. Fuck grassroots development, the NHL is dictating a new definition of leadership from the top-down.

I’ll admit Toews seems like a swell chap. World Junior hero, Stevie Y-comparable, Chi-town savior, whatever. This declaration is fucked. If I had been named captain of my high school team as a FRESHMEN, veteran rebellion would soon follow. And I would completely understand. Sure, these guys are more mature, older, seasoned, all that jive but the old-school (Read: Proper. In this case anyways) way is still instilled
in these guys. There’s no way they ain’t feeling slighted. Brian Campbell especially.

Supposedly BC, who has experience as an NHL C, took less money to play in ChiTown. Sure, he was probably excited to play with the CHI 88s, but there had to be something more to the equation, especially for a dude who made his wishes to play near home (SW Ontario) well-known. Now he has no chance of ever leading this team and is stuck with the Hawks for 8 years, assuredly receiving diminished credit the whole time. I mean, the BC era and the Toews leadership era will begin on the same October night. Raw, raw deal my friends.

Why are the Blackhawks doing this? I mean, the past experiments should be enough to dissuade. Sure, Stevie Y is the shit, but he didn’t evolve into the player we all remember until Bowman showed up, and didn’t deliver his first cup until he was in his late 30s. Vinny was stripped of his C after one season and was rocking the A when the Bolts took the cup in 04. Granted, Crosby led his team to the Finals in just his
second season, but I feel the lack of Free Agent action is a more telling side effect of infant captains. Sure, they resigned some important pieces but were fucking inept on the FA market. This team is once again devoid of veterans and therefore more likely to falter come playoff time. Chitown is shaping up like Pittsburgh West. Being progressive ain’t worth it.

4 Comments

Filed under Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, Jonathan Toews, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Steve Yzerman

4 responses to “How to Lose Free Agents and Alienate Veterans

  1. MarkBlack

    You say “the past experiments should be enough to dissuade”, but you haven’t exactly posited any overwhelming evidence that supports that.

    Yzerman was arguably one of the best captains of the last 25 years and he was barely 32 when he first won the cup. Bowman helped him evolve into a player concerned with both ends of the ice, but Yzerman certainly didn’t hurt the Red Wings immeasurably before that.

    What experiments would you put forth aside from Lecavalier that should dissuade Chicago from doing this?

    Campbell’s experience as a captain amounts to one month in a captaincy rotation in Buffalo. It’s hardly what I would point to as shining example of inherent leadership qualities.

  2. jays08

    MarkBlack,
    I’d say the most recent developments in the Crosby experiment should be enough to dissuade the Hawks. Sure, they resigned their youngsters but they also lost some key grit (Roberts, Malone, Ruutu, Talbot) in the process and made approximately two decent (generous) Free Agent Signings: Ruslan Fedetenko and Miroslav Satan. Their rosters’ shaping up as one of the softest in the Show. It appears gritty veterans don’t want anything to do with the Pens. Look for an epic relapse into shit for the Burgh this season.

    And as to Campbell’s “inherent leadership qualities”, his path to the NHL makes up for his genetic deficencies. Guy paid his dues in the minors, blossomed into a great two-way D-man, with an assist from the rule changes, and became an All-Star performer. Next offseason, when Nikolai’s contract is coming off the books, veteran role players looking for a Cup would be much more inclined to sign with a team captained by Campbell as opposed to one “led” by a 21-year old golden boy like Toews.

    This move is ridicolously premature. If the Hawks had given the C to Campbell for the duration of his deal, Toews would inherit the captaincy when he’s 28. They must have made this decision after a World Junior Bender. That US-Canada Semi will infect you with all types of Toews-lust.

  3. Mark Black

    A few things:
    -The Penguins didn’t lose Maxime Talbot. He is, most assuredly, under contract.
    -The Penguins may have lost Roberts, Ruutu and Malone, but would it have really been worth it to retain Roberts or Malone? Roberts played just over ten minutes in the playoffs and was a minus 4. He wasn’t much better in the regular season where he missed over 40 games and was a minus 3. It’s hard to imagine him being more integral to the Penguins’ chances than say Pascal Dupuis, experience or not. Malone priced himself off of the Penguins as there is no way the Penguins could afford to retain Malone as well as signing Staal, Malkin, Orpik and Fleury. I’d rather see the latter four than Malone. Malone’s and Roberts’s departures had more to do with finances than they did with any problems with Crosby’s leadership. If you can show me articles that counter that the widely accepted financial reasons for their departures, I might be inclined to agree with you.
    -Ruutu will easily be replaced by Matt Cooke, a gritty veteran who had no qualms about signing with the Penguins.
    -In your original post you state that Campbell has had experience as an NHL captain, but your response to me seems to veer away from that original reasoning and rely more on Campbell’s hard work and dues paying. Based on that logic, you could make a strong case that Toews is equally deserving due to his strong international play. The 2008 WC is the first time that Toews didn’t walk away from an international competition with a gold. He’s a remarkable player with great talent and poise beyond his years. I’ve been lucky enough to see him play a couple of times now and I can’t think of a better player to represent the face of the Blackhawks franchise. It’s a bold move, but one that I think will pay off.

  4. jays08

    MarkBlack
    -I’m with ya on the boldness
    -Thanks for pointing out my error regarding Talbot
    -While I introduced young captains’ inability to attract 1-year rentals, which are essential to playoff success, in the previous message, I somehow neglected to mention Marian Hossa. Or the dude who left a “remarkable player with great talent and poise beyond his years” for a team captained by a man with talent and poise in line with his age. It just seems like Veteran Free Agents would be more willing to be led by men who have earned their captaincy, instead of boys with the potential to earn it. And I know you will probably question what “earns” a player the right to be captain, but I don’t believe one year of NHL duty and an impressive Junior career (an accomplishment shared by approximately 95% of NHL players) to be enought to warrant an NHL C.
    Call me old school, or in line with the entire Hockey community below the NHL, but I like my Captains experienced.
    -I certainly respect your opinion concerning your beloved Hawks. The future is certainly bright in Chitown, but not as bright as it could have been. Just messing with ya.

    Best of luck and thanks for the rebuttals. It’s good to know what’s wrong with my arguments. Take it easy.

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