I was tempted to put together a SlideShow, but then I started writing, pondering the big question on the back of everyone's mind (in Toronto): "Who's going to be captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs this year?" I wouldn't be out of line recommending Jamal Mayers be seriously considered for the job. No more rotating the 'A', and let's give Schenn a few years to develop, on and off the ice.
Throughout last season, I consistently commented that Mayers showed a lot of potential night after night, not only for his obvious toughness and passion for the game, but also for his integrity and leadership. He's a veteran and demonstrated a willingness to contribute to improve the team in any way possible. I liked what I saw.
In fact I stated a few articles ago I think Mayers will enjoy a breakout year and provide some much-needed and anticipated finish around the opposing net.
Mayers is a pretty big boy, and quick on the ice, standing 6'1" and weighing over 200 pounds. Mayers can score, kill penalties, cycle and mix it up in the corners, and isn't afraid to drop the gloves. Oh yes, he's a local lad, and a product of Western Michigan University, and chose to remain in college when originally drafted by St Louis.
Mayers appreciates his influence among younger players and devotes time as a real role model in the community. He promotes Ice Hockey in Harlem, for example, and also became a member of the NHL Diversity Task Force and worked with the NHL Players' Association to help hockey broaden its appeal to young players. He's also battled through some hard injuries over the seasons.
Mayers was a member of the 2007 Canadian IIHF World Championship team that won gold in a 4–2 win against Finland in Moscow, and again a member of the silver-winning team in 2008, scoring twice and assisting three more, with a decent plus-six rating.
Therefore, I think the Leafs can benefit by placing the "C" on Jamal Mayers uniform, as I'm sure he's more than capable of handling the so-called pressure in this big city, and let someone who is deserving actually accept the responsibility. He's big and tough, and he's a fast skater, who has some personality and who can talk to the media, and sometimes gets a little too passionate and takes an occasional bad penalty.
I'm not sure the Leafs need to hand the job to newcomers Beauchemin or Komiserik, or Stajan, and definitely not Kaberle. Burke's already said the job is Schenn's, but not today. So, I vote for Mayers, despite his potential-filled display of talent last year.