Roberto Luongo did what a lot of people anticipated on Monday and relinquished captaincy for the Vancouver Canucks. I think this is a positive move and it was done in such a way that everyone saves face. Gillis hinted that he wouldn’t mind Luongo giving up the C, but ultimately allowed Luongo to make the decision.
Getting rid of the C should help Luongo focus on stopping the puck, although pressure on him will still be high. But by giving the C to someone else, that will deflect some of the pressure.
Gillis from the press release:
Roberto has been an excellent captain for our team the past two seasons. We respect and support his decision to relinquish the captaincy and are confident that he will continue to help lead our team through his tremendous character and work ethic both on and off of the ice.
Luongo on his decision:
I am honoured to have served as captain of the Vancouver Canucks for the past two seasons. Being captain in a Canadian city for a team with such passionate fans is a privilege and an experience I will always take pride in. I will continue to be a leader on this team and support my teammates the same way I always have while focusing on our ultimate goal.
Now the real question becomes who will become the new captain of the Canucks? Most agree that it is a two horse race between Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
Henrik Sedin seems to be the most popular choice at the moment and last season he was the team’s best player. The worry that I have with naming Henrik as captain is that it reminds me a whole lot of Markus Naslund. Henrik, like Naslund, is a quiet mild mannered player who does not hit/fight. Unlike Naslund though, Henrik is good defensively and plays centre (a more important position).
Henrik is a popular choice right now because of one great season, before last year he was nobody’s choice to be captain. As long as he keeps scoring he’ll be fine as captain, but when/if he goes into a slump his leadership will be called into question.
Ryan Kesler is a blood and guts, heart and soul player. He kills penalties, blocks shots, hits, scores goals and plays in every situation. Even if he is in a scoring slump, he does so many other things that I don’t think his leadership could be questioned. The only question in my mind is if he is mature enough. I think he is and I think he would relish a chance to be captain.
Kesler is my choice for new Canucks captain but something tells me it’ll be Henrik. Either way I don’t think it’s a bad choice and if getting the captaincy issue away from Luongo helps him concentrate (I think it will), the team will be all the better for it.