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:
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...
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?
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???
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.....
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?