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Sabres need a Captain

There has been plenty of talk about the Sabres captain, or lack thereof, since the departure of co-captains Chris Drury and Danny Briere. Last season the team (when I say team, I mean Lindy Ruff) decided that the team would use a rotating captaincy for the season.

The rotating captaincy was a huge mistake last year for the Sabres. The ideal move would have been to name a captain to replace Drury and Briere in order to replace them, the rotating captaincy only made the Drury/Briere situation linger longer. There are plenty of theories as to why the team was unsuccessful last season but the lack of leadership was certainly one of them.

There is now talk that the rotating captaincy will be used again this season. I hope that Lindy Ruff reads that story written by Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News because it's pretty obvious that the players want to choose a captain and stick with him. There are obviously pluses and minuses to either side but I feel that it's important that this team look to one leader and forget about the co-captains.

Reasons to rotate captaincy

  • Allows the team to ask many players to act as leaders while not designating one as the clear cut leader. If a player is not handling the role well they can change to another player.
  • Numerous players would be asked to fill a leadership role and by the end of the season they could have a team full of leaders.

Reasons to pick a captain

  • It would allow the team a player to look at for leadership while allowing the rest of the team to go out and play hockey. It would leave one person in charge of being a liason between management and the players.
  • It will give someone the courage to stand up and tell the team they are playing poorly when necessary. All good captain stories come when a team is trailing, it never occurs when a team is ahead.
  • It allows the referees in the league to become comfortable with one player on the Sabres team and build a repoire, something that is not possible when it's always a different captain.

It's still unclear if Lindy Ruff will choose a captain or use a rotating captain, although it appears he's leaning towards rotating it. If he listens to what the players said in the media he will decide on one captain. If they pick a captain it will be interesting to see who that player will be.

Captain Candidates

  • Jochen Hecht: He appeared to be the one guy that really stepped into a leadership role last year. It was a really young team last season and Jochen seemed to sense that, becoming a leader on the ice for the this team.
  • Teppo Numminen: He was missed more than anyone anticipated last season, when he misssed most of the season because of heart surgery. It would be a sign that there are truly no hard feelings regarding his medical suspension that was publicly debated.
  • Craig Rivet: He is probably not a likely candidate because he is the new guy in town but he brings another veteran presence. In addition to bringing a veteran presence he is a player that leads by example on the ice.
  • Jason Pominville: For a young player he seems to be a born leader. He is also one of the best offensive players on the team.
  • Toni Lydman: He is a wildcard in the captain situation. It is highly unlikely that he will be named captain but he really excelled when he was the captain for the month last season. It was by far is most consistent month in what was an inconsistent season.