Hawks Insider: O Captain, My Captains
Will there be a captain chosen this year? -- Steve Ambrus, Tillsonburg, Ontario
Who are going to be the Hawks' captains this season? -- Vince, Chicago
Steve and Vince, my personal opinion is that any captain the Blackhawks select this season would just be keeping the 'C' warm until Jonathan Toews ascends to the role. There's a reason why the 2006 3rd overall pick has been repeatedly compared to Steve Yzerman. He's smart, articulate, talented and a proven winner and leader who comes through in high pressure situations. Plus, he should wear the Hawks sweater for many, many years to come.
As far as what I think Denis Savard will do this year, my sense is that he wants to spread the leadership around so that it isn't up to just a few guys to carry the load on the ice and in the locker room. Don't be surprised if you see a group of maybe five captains with Martin Lapointe always wearing the 'A' and two pairs rotating between home and road games.
Lapointe is an obvious choice for the permanent 'A' as a veteran with two Stanley Cups who has served as interim captain at multiple points the past two seasons for the Hawks.
For the other four spots, you have to think that Martin Havlat and Robert Lang would be the top two candidates. Havlat wore the 'A' much of last year and is inarguably the Blackhawks' biggest star. At 36, Lang is the club's elder statesman and a proven veteran.
Savard will surely want to mix in some youth as well, and I think Brent Seabrook, Tuomo Ruutu and Jim Vandermeer will get strong consideration. Seabrook is quickly developing into one of the best young defensemen in the league and formerly captained Lethbridge (WHL) and Canada at the U-18 World Junior Championship.
Ruutu still has the potential to be a difference-maker every time he steps on the ice and is currently the longest tenured Blackhawk going back to the 2003-04 season. Like Ruutu, Vandermeer has worn the 'A' before and, despite a disappointing 2006-07 campaign, has the toughness and character any team would want in a leader.
Who would you like to see in the captains mix? Send feedback or submit a question using the Hawks Insider submission form.