Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Oh Captain My Captain" Time For Change In the Ducks Locker Room


By Ken Armer,

Hey readers of BoC, yep, I'm the new Duck in town, and happy to be here. I just flew in from Texas and man are my arms tired. Ok, now i know how letterman feels...anyway. Yes, I reside in Texas, and yes, I'm a reformed Stars fan. I grew up watching the Stars. But as i grew older i stopped following them, and hockey. Once i got back into hockey, the Ducks became my team. Some may say I'm a Stars fan in Duck feathers, but ill show you your wrong by fall. Although, it may hurt my argument about proving some wrong to make my first post a complaint about the Ducks, i feel many will agree...even Earl and my California writing counterparts. So here goes nothing...

As a highly educated hockey fan, writer and former player, I think I have the right once in a while on certain issues to complain.

My past complaints have been about the trade of Andy McDonald for Doug Weight and a draft pick, and the Ducks early exit from the 2008 playoffs. Now I feel compelled to make it somewhat more personal.

Some may hate me for my opinion, but I feel hockey fans who are for improvement in the Ducks will agree with me. Anyway, on to the point at hand...

Chris Pronger is nowhere near new to being a leader in the Ducks organization, or any other for that matter. He is a fantastic blue liner and a pivotal D-man for the Ducks. His behavior of late though has risen my, along with some others, eyebrows—including the NHL’s.

The latest was a stomp on Canucks Center Ryan Kesler. I watched the video, and having played the game there is no way that was an accident. I would like to believe it was, but come on.

More than just this minor misstep, literally. Chris Pronger has been suspended seven times in his 14-year career. That’s a lot for the captain of a hockey team. Too many if you ask me.

When the Ducks won the Cup in 2007, Pronger found himself suspended twice during that playoff run. Sure, he was not the captain then, but is a guy who makes this many poor choices in two seasons worth being your influential leader and voice between the bench and the zebra (ref)?

Pronger is a leader when he is using the entirety of his brain and not flying off the handle making poor choices. In the last two seasons though, things have gotten out of hand. By this point, some readers are thinking “Well, since he’s so bad who should be captain?”

My pick would be for Rob Niedermayer, the grinding forward who, even with his age, experience, and his placement in the lineup, is a constant force in all aspects of the game.

If the Ducks need someone on the defense in a leadership role, why not give an “A” to Sean O'Donnell or Mathieu Schneider. Pronger can be a leader without a letter on his sweater and he shouldn’t have one until he can better control his behavior.

I don’t honestly expect a change to be made, but I truly think Rob deserves a chance, more than just an “A” on his sweater. He deserves the promotion and even more he fills the role like it is supposed to be filled.

Look at Patrick Marleau. He hardly ever does something stupid and he’s a positive influence for the Sharks.

Brenden Morrow for the Stars is the same deal, an emotional force that leads his team by example, both in the physical game and scoring game, winning goals to lead his team to the Conference Finals. While Pronger’s example is to stomp on guys and elbow them to gain a suspension from the NHL.

As some will have noticed, I skipped over Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne, who although are leaders, need to let someone with a longer future with the Ducks take the role.

Selanne or Scotty would be fantastic captains, but until they decide on their futures in hockey, they need to focus on other things rather than being the emotional leaders. They fill those roles without the sweater designation.

If Pronger does keep the “C,” I hope his behavior will improve so he will be a leader and not a distraction.

Emotion on the ice is a powerful thing, but Pronger is like a tea kettle—he boils over too often. If his teammates truly feel he is the captain they need then so be it, but maybe they should really think about a change for the 2008-2009 season.

19 comments:

Earl Sleek said...

Welcome aboard, Ken! Surprisingly, it's nice to read some Ducks talk that I don't hardly agree with at all. :)

To clarify, I have no real problem with removing Pronger as a captain -- although it would have to be done with his blessing, and based on his ice time he'd certainly have to be an alternate.

Still, I can't agree on any of your choices. Rob? O'D? Schneidermayer? I don't really approve of year-to-year captain changes, and thus I wouldn't be making anyone a captain who's on the last year of their contract. If nothing else, it gives them too much leverage in extension negotiation. And that eliminates a lot of candidates.

I don't know why you wouldn't have tapped the real future leader of this squad: Ryan Getzlaf. He's a relatively clean player, he's going to get a shitload of ice time, and he's going to be the cornerstone of this franchise over the next five years. What's he missing?

Answer: probably experience, which is why I'm personally in favor of letting Pronger carry the "C" another year. Suspensions or no, I don't think Stompy is changing his game too much, and I don't think his captaincy cost the Ducks last year, as you seem to imply.

Cheechew said...

give the C to Parros just for having the cool porn 'stache

Anonymous said...

Patrick Marleau is the Sharks captain.

Ken said...

Thanks for the clarification, sorry about that.

Earl Sleek said...

Patrick Marleau is the Sharks captain.

Oh, he is so traded (e1).

Ken said...

Getz would be a great Captain Earl, just think he needs a lil more experiance. I do like your point about the year to year deal. Heres hoping Pronger gets his shit straight.

Mike said...

Welcome to the party Ken.

Perhaps Pronger shouldn't have the C, but the act of stripping it from someone and giving it to another person should be done carefully. Even in your town, Big D, taking it from Modano and giving it a great player like Morrow sparked a lot of controversy.

So taking it from a Hart and Norris winner to give it to a third line player would be seen (rightly, in my view) as a slap in the face. There are better ways to run a guy out of town, no reason to tea-bag him in a press conference.

My pick would be for Rob Niedermayer, the grinding forward who, even with his age, experience, and his placement in the lineup, is a constant force in all aspects of the game.

Except scoring. Rob would be the lowest scoring (non D) captain in the NHL by a large margin. Great teams have leadership all over the place- you don't need extra letters on your sweater to be a leader.

We've had the same kind of discussions up here in SJ over Marleau for quite a while now, and I feel the same way about Marleau as I do about Pronger. Unless changing captains is absolutely necessary, you don't.

Earl Sleek said...

There are better ways to run a guy out of town.

Yeah, burn his baby's furniture! :)

RudyKelly said...

Getzlaf will be the next captain because he's really good and seems pretty friendly. He wouldn't shut the fuck up at the All-Star Game while Perry just sat there like a mope.

And what is all this Ducks shit all of a sudden?

Ken said...

Let Prongers wife take it from him, lord knows she rules that roost. (Edmonton fiasco). I agree here, but his discipline issues are sickening. His behavior needs to change or he should face Duck imposed consequences.

Mr. Plank said...

We've had the same kind of discussions up here in SJ over Marleau for quite a while now, and I feel the same way about Marleau as I do about Pronger. Unless changing captains is absolutely necessary, you don't.

Solid point- although a coaching change gives you a little more leeway in terms of changing the "C". I'm guessing Pronger will stick with the C, but it's all but a certainty Getz will wear it in a couple of years or so. That kid can play.

Daniel said...

I believe Brian Burke said he would be the teams captain some time in his career, when he signed his new contract. The only reason he isn't captain now is because Chris Pronger has it until he is no longer on the team.

I dislike Chris Pronger on a whole lot of things, he plays dirty a lot of the time, but the most important thing a captain should do is lead his soldiers. Jerome Iginla is a great captain, because he will step up to the plate if any of his teammates are disrespected in any manner. Pronger is the same way and Getzlaf has that makeup too. Leave CP for now, Getzlaf gets it in 2 years, for the rest of his career.

PJ Swenson said...

I am still wondering why you chose to write about the Ducks?

I say let Pronger keep the C. It makes him that much easier to boo, easier to critizie when the Ducks lose, and adds variety to the fan signage.

brokeyard said...

And what is all this Ducks shit all of a sudden?

I counted the posts on the main page, this is the breakdown of team focus:

Bruins - 1
Kings - 4
Sharks - 1
Blue Jackets - 1
Ducks - 2
Other/Misc/Not About Hockey - 8

Earl Sleek said...

Other/Misc/Not About Hockey - 8

Ah, I love summertime blogging. I'll have some non-hockey stuff to talk about at some point also.

westcoast ray said...

Regardless of your flawed logic, it's a nice read. I couldn't disagree with you more, but welcome aboard.

Doogie said...

Except scoring. Rob would be the lowest scoring (non D) captain in the NHL by a large margin.

Ethan Moreau's not doing much these days.

My first instinct was Getzlaf, too. Setting aside experience for a moment, he's the best (full-time) forward on your team, he's a year removed from a Stanley Cup and a damned good playoff run at that. He was a captain in junior, though granted, he did have it yanked temporarily as an attitude adjustment. But he's going to be a Duck for the long haul, might as well ease him with an "A" for at least this year, see how things stand with Lauren's Husband closer to the end of his deal. You also see stuff like that with, for example, Ales Hemsky in Edmonton and Chris Higgins in Montreal.

There are better ways to run a guy out of town.

Yeah, burn his baby's furniture! :)


Start infidelity rumours! Get the local media involved! Fun for the whole (illegitimate) family!

Morbo said...

I doubt the C makes much difference within the locker room. A guy like Giguere(remember all the storied in 03 about how he was the leader in the locker room while Princess Paul sat in the corner avoiding the press and getting his nails done) or Teemu isn't going to stop being the vocal leaders just because Stompy has the C.

I think one place where the C could matter is in the ref's semi-circle. I don't remember who it was that brought it up during the playoffs, but I can't help think that having Stompy as the team representative on ice isn't exactly helpful when it comes time for "real politik" with the refs...

Bryan said...

Rob makes a bad choice. He doesn't seem like the leadership guy. I mean everyone knows he's the brother of Scott and has been a huge disappointment on most teams til he found his role in Anaheim. And Randy Ladoceur is the worst Duck's captain ever. How many times does a captain suck so much that they are a healthy scratch.