MAILBAG: Is it time for the Leafs to name a captain?
|Toronto Star 15 Mar 2019 at 10:20|
When any team hits the skids – as teams do – players look to leadership to get them out of it. But sometimes a singular voice is better than multiple voices, which is what the Leafs are beginning to experience whether it’s Auston Matthews talking about the team quitting, Frederik Andersen telling the team to “figure it out” or Morgan Rielly talking about inclusiveness.
The Maple Leafs have a solid core of leadership material, including two ex-captains in John Tavares and Patrick Marleau. Throw in Ron Hainsey and there are enough veterans for the youngsters to turn to in time of need.
But there’s another pack of younger players from whom the captaincy is likely going to be drawn.
If a player speaks his mind and tells the media – and therefore the public -- what’s what, you can be sure he’s doing the same in the locker room. Matthews, Frederik Andersen and Rielly are doing just that.
A goalie won’t be made captain, so we’re down to Matthews and Rielly.
This is with a huge apology to Mitch Marner, probably their best player right now, but what makes him special is his levity, the lighthearted way he approaches every day. He approaches every game like it’s a game, it should be fun. That’s a gift that the captaincy may weigh down.
So Matthews or Rielly? Can t go wrong with either, but I think Rielly has the edge.
This is not to suggest anything is imminent. This will be a summertime call, likely made by president Brendan Shanahan.
To the Mailbag, where Frederik Andersen, Auston Matthews, Mike Babcock, William Nylander and the playoff format face some heat, while John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler earn the accolades.
QUESTION: Okay, Uncle Kevin, try to remind me that all the accolades concerning Andersen’s play where a little early and maybe missed the mark. That left glove hand. Does seem to be not very reliable in the games that seem to matter. How can opposing coach’s not relish to tell their shooters to go glove side, as many times as they can?