New York Rangers' Captain Conundrum

Scotty HockeyCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2008

There is much debate of late over who will become the 25th captain of the New York Rangers.

From all that I have read—and I am not about to link all of the pieces, as both MSM and bloggers are weighing in on it left and right—everyone seems to think this is a two horse race: Chris Drury vs. Scott Gomez.

I find that remarkable, and completely disagree with either choice.

First off, let's look at why they are the leading candidates: Both have won Cups, both can put up some points, both are signed to well-paid, long-term contracts. The arguing points used by proponents of each against the other is that Drury is too quiet and Gomez acts too immature. Both statements are true, and that should disqualify each of them in the battle for the captaincy.

Markus Naslund and Wade Redden both have worn letters before, but both fall into the same category as Drury—leaders by example. Captains of that ilk work in Detroit, Colorado, and Ottawa—but they don't work here. History has proven that.

New York needs a cult of personality to lead them, and none of the aforementioned 2008-09 Rangers qualify for that. Mark Messier, widely acknowledged as The Captain, was one. Neither his predecessor (Kelly Kisio) nor his successors (Brian Leetch and Jaromir Jagr) had the power to force their will, to motivate, and to resuscitate others.

They were great, great hockey players, but they couldn't make those around them great.

And New York demands greatness.

Is that quality in the current Ranger locker room? In skill, perhaps but—at least at the moment and at least on the surface—not in personality. Drury and Gomez are both good hockey players and proven winners. But Drury keeps to himself and Gomez smiles in postgame interviews after losses. The short term solution for this is to spread three As around until someone steps up and brings the team with them.

Perhaps the captaincy could go to Staal, Girardi, Dawes, or Callahan—but not yet. The C brings with it a legacy and it should not be tarnished just because fans or pundits feel that somebody has to have it.