Monday, September 14, 2009

Alternate Captain Position Available. Apply Within.

Heatley is gone! Ok, so I'm even sick of talking about it. But along with the man behind the uniform, so went the "A" on his uniform...or at least it became available.

We know Alfie will don the "C" and Big Rig sports an "A", but who will get the other Alternate Captain role?

Having a letter on your jersey is a big responsibility. There is a lot involved. You have to be respected. You have to be a leader. You have to be able to rally the troops, to get tough when the tough get going, to carry the team when necessary. You gotta face the media after a loss and protect the younger guys when necessary. You have to chat with refs. You have to be in the community outside the rink. As always, I can go on.

So who fits that role on the 2009-10 Sens? Here is a shortlist:

Anton Volchenkov
A-Train has been in a Sens jersey since 2002 (even in Bingo in the lockout). A big D-man who throws bone crushing hits. His style is admirable. Works hard, never gives up, hits whatever`s in his way, blocks any shot he can get a piece of. He puts the team first and knows his role.

But, #24 is a UFA after this year and may be hard for the Sens to hang on to. While we would all love him to receive a contract extension this year, you never know what's going to happen. Can we risk putting an "A" on a guy who might leave? We just went through that...

Jason Spezza
Watching Spez in interviews still makes me chuckle. His goofy demeanor always makes me shake my head and think he's so lucky to have the hands he does. But #19 is growing up. This summer he got married in his personal life, but divorced in his professional life. He was invited to the Team Canada Olympic Camp, but only after being initially overlooked. This summer of ups and downs may have thickened his skin as he enters his 6th season in Sens Red. Can he be ready for the promotion?

But, he's so goofy! Can he really be a leader in the room? Or does he crack terrible jokes during the intermission?

Mike Fisher
An obvious candidate for the role. He's worn the "A" from time to time so has experience there. Another lifelong Senator and clearly a fan favourite. Like A-Train, he works hard. Many would say, this blogger included, he's the hardest working guy on the team. He goes in corners, he battles, he's got speed and he's got a damn good look in his eye that says "I want to win". Plus, he clearly has the hottest girlfriend on the team, so there's that.

But, Fish has underperformed from an offensive point of view. Every season that passes, our offensive expectations become less and less while our frustration of his contract grows. Despite this frustration, could you picture him in any other uniform???

Chris Neil
A long shot here, but consider Neil is another guy on this list who's only ever called Ottawa his NHL home. A guy who will take one for anyone else on his team. He'll get his opponents riled up and follow through by taking them on to rally the troops (well, most of the time). Not the biggest scrapper in the NHL, but one of the most fearless, and with the best smile. And who doesn't love and respect a guy who'll stay in town for less money than the Leafs offered him?

But, do you really want your leader to spend more time in the box than the rest of your team? Remember, one of a captain's roles is to talk to the refs - not so easy to have a rationale conversation with a ref after you've just been put away for a few minutes...and your name rhymes with Shmeil.

Because I'm writing this, I get the honour of being the first to express an option. And who do I think should be the new Alternate Captain of this year's Senators? Drumroll please.....

Jason Spezza!

Yep. That's right. Aside from Alfie, Spez is our franchise player. He's our golden boy up front and is expected to lead a new offense that season. It would be classy for the Sens to add an "A" to his jersey to go along with those expectations. Not only would this would instill confidence in Jason, but it makes him more responsible. Maybe he'll think twice about making blind passes at the blue line. He's not a kid anymore and this would go a long way in reminding him that. And, what a nice honour to recognize a guy who actually honours and appreciates his 7 year contract (a nice subtle middle finger to our former #15).

Now the obvoius question, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you agree with the shortlist? Should we consider anyone else? Does Kovy earn it because of his veteran status and talent? Maybe Kuba can handle the role as the quarterback on the PP. Should we shake it up and be the first team to give an "A" to a goalie (screw you Vancouver!)?

Let's hear your thoughts! Who will be the Sens new Alternate Captain?


Canucnik said...

Alternate Captain...a correct term...full marks.

If Fish wasn't so religious it's his "A" to lose cause all the other guys are on the ice with Alf at the same time.

Jason gets the Alternate Captain's job it's now or never, it's his time!

PS: He parties with Alf now, not that "Hollywood" crowd.

duff said...

I think your shortlist covers it, but at the end of the day, it will really just come down to Fisher and Spezza.

With Fish, you get an emotional guy that will pump up the team with his effort and commitment. A good choice.

With Spezza, you're giving it to your next franchise player, a passing of the torch. He's grown up a ton and you seriously have to question why the 90 point star DOESN'T have a letter.

My gut tells me they'll give it to Fisher, but I really think it would go a long way to give it to Spezza. Let him know that this is his year to start taking over the team.

Canucnik said...

Right on!

Grinder said...

I agree Duff... Give Spezza his due and make him feel it (when he looks in the mirror and the "A" looks back at him).

Anonymous said...

I dont no why people always put volchenkov into the role of A... he is a great leader by example... other than that... he doesn't really fit into any of your other categories... you say he needs to be a good talker and can't speak english.. i maybe its just me... i love the guy and love the way he plays but he is not a guy I would put the A on... i agree that Spezza might be the right guy to give it too.. not because he will most likely score the most points but i feel he showed a lot of maturity this summer through out this situation, said alot of the right things (as goofy as he looks and sounds while doing so:P haha) he also is putting in a good effort into bettering himself, and is buying into the team mentality.... he also handled the olympic camp scenario very well saying he needs to work harder and that it was eye opening he didn't make the squad the first shot... over all i think he deserves it... whether he is the "best" leader at this point i don't no but i think he deserves it and will grow into a great leader given the opportunity.
Fisher or even Kelly if he steps up would be my other choices... (maybe Kovi but i cant see giving it to kovalev seeing as he is prolly retiring in 2 years)

Derrick said...

Yep, the reasoning behind 'A'ing the Spezz Dispenser is spot on. Although, I've seen Fisher in referee scrums way more than I have Spezza. Fisher's obtrusive religiousity is annoying as fuck, but he bleeds red black and gold (white?) and no one would dispute an 'A' on his chest.

Grinder said...

Obtrusive religiousity... You have captured it PERFECTLY Derrick - LMAO!

Isn't Fisher the poster boy for "that player" that you trade because he doesn't produce to expectations, then live to regret it forever!?

That said, Spezza is the obvious choice.

Anonymous said...

I like Volchenkov but he may be too quiet or limited in his English to be effective in some of the demands placed on an A.

If they elect to keep Donovan, he might be an appropriate candidate. He's definitely a team first guy all the way.

pynch said...

No comments on Kuba, anyone? The guy's a vet and has won a Cup. Does that warrant any consideration?

Anonymous said...

How about Chris Kelly? He was Captain of Bingo once and has the respect of everyone in that locker room. I would scratch Neil and Volchenkov right off the list immediately. They just don't have the personality necessary to fulfill the role.

As for Spezza, a guy with this laugh (
cannot be a leader anywhere. He couldn't lead the developmentally challenged with a laugh like that.

Anonymous said...

The 'A' should be worn by a consistently hard working no nonsense gritty and talented player. Spezza will rack up points in several lopsided games during the season but lacks many of the other traits. If the Sens makes the playoffs I'd rather have Fisher as a team leader when the games are much harder fought and he can be counted on to shut down the opponents top scorers and lead by example. Spezza will be on more highlight reels but hasn't proven that he's a leader. Give Fisher the 'A' as he's a natural leader.

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