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The Captain, and his alternates: who will they be? (updated)

Posted By On July 8, 2011 @ 6:44 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 515 Comments

MORNING UPDATE: Larry Brooks is reporting that RFA Michael Sauer signed a two-year, $1.25 million contract.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Add Artem Anisimov, who signed on the dotted line today, too (in case you didn’t see it right over there ——>).

According to Jesse Spector’s blog: “Anisimov’s deal is worth $3.75 million for the two years, so it’s $1.875 million per season against the salary cap. The Rangers should have about $11 million worth of cap space to fit Boyle, Callahan and Dubinsky, and keep in mind that they will get a buyout window for 48 hours after the final settlement or arbitration decision.”

Also, good news. We’re going to try to put up a separate widget with the players’ twitter tweetings.


So Brad Richards is signed, sealed, (approved), and delivered. We now know that No. 19 will be on his back, and on his sleeves.

The remaining question about his outfit is the little letter, or lack thereof, on the front. [1]

See, there’s actually been talk about Richards getting the captain’s C, though none of that talk has emanated from the Rangers’ organization.

I think that’s ridiculous and an absolute longshot. But crazier things have happened, I suppose. I mean, Richards is one of John Tortorella’s boys, and he comes with all kinds of expectations, not only to live up to his contract and turn the Rangers into contenders by pumping up an offense that has been non-existent for years.

He comes with the expectation of leadership.

So I suppose it’s possible that he wears the C. But I doubt it.

Why? Because I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Ryan Callahan would replace Chris Drury as captain. Because I think Callahan would have been named captain earlier if Drury wasn’t around. Because I think Callahan exemplifies what this Rangers team has become, and is the prototype player for the way they play, and is a guy they couldn’t do without last year.

Because this team, which formed an admirable, courageous, fun-to-watch, black-and-blue, “It’s Just Pain” identity last year, is Callahan’s team. It just is. Or “It’s Just His.”

Therefore, I think it would be a mistake to have anybody other than Callahan wear the C. I don’t know anything about Richards or if he’d be a good captain or not. I know he wore an A in Dallas, and that he sure comes with a clutch (uh, oh, there’s that word) resume.

But making him captain could blow up in Tortorella’s face … and again, I don’t think he would put a C on the chest of anybody other than Callahan.

So let’s assume that it’s Captain Callahan. Then who gets the alternate (NOT assistant) captains’ A. Do you give one to Richards over, say, Brandon Dubinsky? Or Dan Girardi? Or Brandon Prust? You can only have three captains for a given game.

Well, here’s what I’d do. I’d go back to the most glorious season in franchise history, when Mike Keenan — who took his leadership group pretty seriously — did it this way: He rotated the alternate captains at home and away. He had four alternates — Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Steve Larmer.

I’d go the same route. Now, Tortorella might not see it that way. He might see the need for more people to wear letters on their chests. I’m sure he believes that leaders don’t necessarily need letters, and that a good team, especially one like last year’s edition, needs more than three leaders. Or five.

But, still, I don’t think they’d take away the A from Marc Staal — why would you? And I think Dubinsky could use an A, which might help him grow further, take more responsibility and ownership than he already does. I think Richards could/should have an A. And would have no argument if Girardi — based on his Block Ness Monster season that ended in that manly playoff series performance — or Prust, who fought every battle and played through every injury, got a letter, too.

So I’d go with five lettered leaders. The more the better, I say.

What say you? Who would be your three or five?


Photo from pro-jerseys.com.

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