Poor poor, Canuckville. First they go from being a perennial contender, to a team hitting the golf course in early April. Then their all-time fan favorite Trevor Linden retires. On Free Agent Frenzy day, current captain Marcus Naslund leaves for New York. Then the Canucks unofficially lose the "Summer of Sundin" sweepstakes (although of course there was no real winner in that on-going saga) after going "all-in."
And finally, today, the Vancouver Canucks name Roberto Luongo their new captain.
Yes, the goalie.
My first reaction was: they can't do that, can they? I guess I just always assumed because I a) heard there was a rule against it, and b) hadn't seen it done - that is couldn't be. I guess I was proved wrong today. (I guess also, in my mind, I always thought if it could happen, it would have happened already with Martin Brodeur in New Jersey).
I have no problems, per say, with this. It is just, quite simply - odd.
He can be captain, but he can't wear a C. Okay, fine. I guess that's the opposite of baseball where guys like the Yankees Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter were captains but only guys like the Mets' John Franco actually wore a C on their jersey. I'm fine with that.
He can't argue plays. Sure. Makes sense. Obviously this was the main reason for the rule in the first place. A goalie shouldn't be the one arguing calls. So the Canucks have nominated Willie Mitchell to do that. Fine.
And lastly, Roberto can't take place in any ceremonial activities - puck drops at center ice, etc. Mattias Ohlund will do that. Now, that one confuses me. Why not? Because it won't be a good photo opportunity? What else would be the problem with that? He might trip someone with his giant pads while going in to take the ceremonial face off? I think it'd be funny. Not if he tripped someone, but the photo in general. Too damn cookie-cutter this league is sometimes. Dare to be different, or apparently so say the powers that be in Vancouver.
So, yeah, hockey fans . . .Roberto is captain in Canuckville. But what, besides in essense and in the locker room, does that really mean? I guess that's why I ultimately, just find it. . . odd.
And this is meant with no disrespect at all to Luongo, who when healthy and mentally ready, is easily one of the best goalies in the league. Or to the Canucks, who I've already mentioned I feel somewhat badly for in this off-season.
I actually just watched Trevor Linden's last game that was still on my Tivo this past weekend. (For the record, not many guys in the league are as respectable in my book as Trevor Linden. Great guy. All hockey fans owe him a lot for what he did for the game we all love. Seriously, great guy). And in watching, I just felt for them. It was quite obvious that it was very likely Linden's last game on that one Saturday night, but as it turned out, it was both Marcus Naslund (free agent move to New York) and Luc Bourdon (who sadly passed away in a motorcycle crash this past May)'s last games as well. A very different feeling I got Sunday watching the game, than I did on April 5th.
So I guess, we'll wait and see. Will captain, and goalie, Roberto Luongo, "lead" his team to success this year? I am just not sure, with all the missing pieces, what exactly he can be expected to do. Except stop A LOT of pucks. Because goodness knows they've struggled in these past few years to score goals and I, quite honestly, do not see where they are going to come from this year to change that.