Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More on European captains

I wrote a little bit about European captains in the NHL sometime last week, but here's something new to add to the discussion. Consider: This season, more than NHL history, more teams in the league will be captained by European players than ever before.

European captains (* - became captain this season):
  1. *Zdeno Chara, Boston
  2. *Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit
  3. Olli Jokinen, Florida
  4. Mattias Norstrom, LA
  5. Saku Koivu, Montreal
  6. *Kimmo Timonen, Nashville
  7. *Patrik Elias, New Jersey
  8. Alexei Yashin, NYI
  9. *Jaromir Jagr, NYR
  10. Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa
  11. *Peter Forsberg, Philadelphia
  12. Mats Sundin, Toronto
  13. Markus Naslund, Vancouver
The subject was discussed on yesterday's Prime Time Sports show on the Fan 590, and the panel's conclusion was that this was reflection of how many phenomenal non-North American players there are in the league. (Factoring in the American-born captains — Chris Drury, Brian Rolston and Chris Clark — there are actually fewer Canadian captains than non-Canadian ones.)

Traditionally in the NHL, the captaincy has been given to a player who was the pillar of strength on a club, the heart-and-soul types who could lead a team to victory — and not necessarily a team's best player. Looking through the list, I think what we now see is more pure snipers — players who aren't necessarily poor leaders, but who also don't necessarily fit the archetype — filling that role.

It's an interesting trend, and as I said in last week's post, it's only a matter of time before one of the above fellows leads his team to a Cup.


At 10:50 a.m., October 17, 2006, Anonymous pete said...

the pillar of strength on a club, the heart-and-soul types who could lead a team to victory — and not necessarily a team's best player

In Sundin's case, he's both. I think if he played anywhere but Toronto he'd be getting his due as one of the most complete players of his generation.

At 11:54 a.m., October 17, 2006, Blogger JavaGeek said...

Problem now is that Europeans have a 13/30 chance of winning the cup this year or 43% and likely the same next year so if they don't do it soon they wont have the excuse there aren't that many of them.

At 1:11 p.m., October 17, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

Pure superstition.

If you're telling me that 43% of teams have a european captain. I'd say "gee, then all things being equal, there's a 43% chance that the cup will go to a team with a european captain"

Do these types of stats keep you guys up at night?

At 4:39 p.m., October 17, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

Hey, what gives? Damien Cox wrote about this today, too.


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