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The NHL season is now in full swing.  And as part of opening weekend the Vancouver Canucks used this as an opportunity to celebrate their 40th anniversary. During the pre-game show the Canucks brought out the original members of the 1stever Canucks team. At one point during the ceremony the initial captain Orland Kurtenbach called on Henrik Sedin to come forward. This was to symbolize the passing of the torch from the 1st to the newest captain of the current version of the team.

Big mistake.

Now I’ve got nothing against Henrik Sedin.  He’s coming off a record point season capped by Hart Memorial and Art Ross Trophies. So he’s clearly a go-to guy for points and a clear leader on the team.  However we have to look at what the ultimate goal is in the NHL.

It’s not winning scoring titles.

It’s not winning President’s trophies for finishing first during the regular season.

The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup.

Period.

And here’s why naming Henrik Sedin captain of the Canucks doesn’t increase the likelihood of this ever happening.

He wasn’t born in North America. Now before you dismiss this point consider who has captained the most recent Stanley Cup winning teams. Think of Jonathan Toews, Sydney Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom, Scott Niedermeyer, Rod Brind’Amour, Dave Andreychuk, Scott Stevens, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Derrian Hatcher, Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky…I’ll stop there.

There is Nicklas Lidstrom you might be thinking.  Ok I’ll give you that. One exception. Big whoop. Unless he’s traded to the Canucks this doesn’t change their prognosis of winning the Cup.

The reason this matters is that there aren’t a whole lot of Czech players growing up in Prague that dream of hoisting the Cup over head one day. The world championships? Maybe. The Olympics? Probably. But to say that there are pubs full of fans growing playoff beards in May over in Europe is ridiculous.

And while the Canucks have had a few Canadians fill the role they haven’t been the right type of player. Trevor Linden was a great Canuck but he wasn’t the guy to intimidate the opposition. He wasn’t going to set a tone physically. He wasn’t going to make opponents hate to play the Canucks. Same goes for Luongo but moreso due to being tied to the goal at the opposite end of the rink.

So who should the Canucks have named as captain? Based on some of the lackadaisical efforts I’ve seen thus far into the season it’s hard to say. If I had to tap one player though it might be Kesler. He’s a top player, plays with a bit of an edge and understands the tradition of the Cup.

Because I don’t see Sedin stepping up in all the ways you need you to as captain. That’s not his game and a role he can’t fulfill. Look back to last year’s playoff against the Hawks. Chicago had a number of players working to get him off his game and it worked. There was no response to their aggressiveness. There was no push back. And I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

What do you think? Do you like Sedin as captain? If not, who would you give the ‘C’ to?

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                 onsidehockeytraining.com

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