Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bobby Lou.....It's You!!

You should have heard the sound of the jaws hitting the floor of the Norm Jewison Media Room at GM Place this morning when Roberto Luongo and Alain Vigneault sat down at the head table for the announcement that the Canucks #1 was named the 12th captain in franchise history.

Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund, and Ryan Kesler were named Alternate Captains and were informed of their new roles on the team about an hour before the press conference took place.

Luongo was first asked of the idea of being captain in early September. According to the coach and GM Mike Gillis, he wasted no time in saying he wanted the role. However unlike other captains in hockey, he won't be permitted to wear the 'C' on his jersey.

There is indeed a rule in the NHL rule book that mentions this topic. It reads:

(end of Rule 6.1)
The Referee and Official Scorer shall be advised, prior to the start of each game, the name of the Captain and the Alternate Captains of both teams. No playing Coach or playing Manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as Captain or Alternate Captain.

It's been a long time since a goalie in the NHL was a captain of his team. You have to go all the way back to the 1948-49 season when Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens had the 'C' bestowed up his Habs jersey. However he was known as a fiery guy who used to complain to the referee a lot, as a result wasting time and allowing his teammates a chance to get rest. For those reasons, the NHL decided goalies should no longer be allowed to be captain of a team.

It should be noted that goalies at lower levels have been captains of their team and have been allowed to wear the 'C' on their jersey. Vancouver native and former BCHL netminder Jordan Sigalet, was captain of his NCAA team at Bowling Green University in 2004. This season, Jeff Lerg, who is the #1 goalie for Michigan State University, will wear the 'C' on his jersey for the Spartans.

Some people think having a goalie as a team captain is bizarre. From where I sit, it makes a lot of sense. He's the most important player on their line-up, he's considered one of the best in his position on the planet, he leads by example, and he as much as anyone in the organization wants to win. Aren't those the qualities you want from a leader of a team?

It should also be noted that the Canucks should be given full marks for not allowing this news to be leaked out to the public before the announcement was made. In a hockey city like Vancouver, news of this magnitude usually gets tipped off to somebody. Trust me, NOBODY outside of the organization knew this was coming. To me, that's a bit refreshing to see.

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