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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh Captain... Our Captain?

Now that yet another head of the ship has set sail for greener pastures- this one being Bill Guerin, who allowed for a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins just before the deadline last season- there's a vacancy in the captain's quarters for the New York Islanders, and one that can be filled by one of three people, in my opinion.

If you look at this poll on Islander Mania (members only, please) http://forums.newyorkislanders.com/index.php?showtopic=21135 you can see that the fans' choice, by quite a few votes, is defenseman Mark Streit. Streit is arguably the best player on the team and one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. He was also captain of the Swiss national team in the World Championships and has shown leadership ability, as well as a way with younger players on the blueline which is particularly evident in the late-season development of Bruno Gervais. Before Chris Campoli (Streit's former D-mate) was traded, Bruno was struggling with injury and with some inconsistency. Once some vacancies on D were created, however, and Gervais was able to get some time with Mark, you could tell that it suited him- he jumped into the play more often and also improved significantly in his defensive play. That kind of influence shouldn't be ignored.

Also a viable candidate for captain is another defenseman, Brendan Witt. Witt was a co-captain when he played for the Washington Capitals, and though sometimes one to move more to the beat of his own drum, he does have charisma, admirable spirit and love for the game. The one thing that counts against him is the fact that he may clash more with the coaching staff, at least if you want to hold against him the remarks he made last season concerning Scott Gordon's "Overspeed" system. All of that aside, I do think Witt could be another good choice for the captaincy.

Doug Weight, a center, would be a surprise choice- or rather, one that wouldn't make sense seeing as he's only got one more year on his contract and is likely trade bait, meaning he stands a good chance at getting the "C." :) In all seriousness, however, were he to stay a few more years, he would most likely be my pick- he leads by example, he's charismatic, he's good with the younger players and has the experience in the playoffs and the Cup to lead a team. Still, with the length of his deal I highly doubt this would be the right pick for captain. Streit's got four more years on his contract and is probably not going to get traded either.

Another option would be to just withhold the C until a point in the season where someone steps up and shows that they have what it takes to be a leader. This would be a good move- it pushes everyone to contribute and doesn't let any blame fall on one person. However, we shall see what happens when training camp starts in the fall. Whoever it may be... God speed.

1 comment:

Kovy274Hart said...

The idea of splitting three alternates ain't bad. Especially for a young team. You have some vets like Streit, Witt and Hunter who might be good candidates. Weight probably should have an 'A.' So yeah. Good writeup.