Oh Captain, No Captain

This stems from a conversation I had on Twitter with RossCreek of FlamesNation the other day after the rumor of King, Sutter and Sutter being fired in lieu of Nicholson, Yzerman and coach to be later named surfaced on CBC. (Random aside: to me CBC is Cambridge Brewing Company, a crappy brew bar in Cambridge. Canadians tell me it’s a TV station.  Looks like CBS is getting pirated on the *puts sunglasses on* high Cs. YEEEAAAAAAHHHH)

Annnnnyways, we started discussing coaching styles, and whether Brent’s coaching was the problem.  As I mentioned in my last snark filled post, I’m not entirely sure the bizarre decisions are his fault one way or another, but those are not the coaching we’re referring to.  We’re referring to the “hardass I’m a dinosaur and probably fat also my name is Ken Hitchcock” coach vs. the “fun light-hearted cuddly bunny” coach.

RossCreek was saying it’s time for a change in styles to a softie, since clearly Keenan and Sutter aren’t getting through to the team.  I am thoroughly of the opinion that at the end of the day, it shouldn’t make a difference.  Why? 

  1. These are grown men.  I can understand you’ll want a more “fun” coach on a really young team (like the St. Louis Blues or NY Islanders), but on a team like Calgary where the age skew is closer to 30 than 20, it shouldn’t matter. The team should be able to be professional, show up, work hard, play the game hard, and go home.  They’re not kids growing up still.  This is not their first rodeo.
  2. The coach shouldn’t fit a mold.  He should adapt.  And I think Brent has done that.  There’s been times where he’s yelled, there’s been times where they’ve had a fun day in Toronto.  But the key is never rewarding mediocrity.  If things are just going poorly with bad bounces, take their minds off the game.  But don’t give them fun times for just being apathetic.  And Brent hasn’t done that.  I mean, could you be a fluffy bunny coach if your team gave up five goals to goddamn Boston?
  3. The problem is a lack of effort, not skill nor understanding of the game. The players skate around listlessly, except for the odd game or period where someone reminds them that effort is involved.  A coach can only do so much leadership since he’s in a suit behind the bench.  Real leadership comes from the players.  The number of times this year I’ve seen Iggy skate bored around a scrum with Calgary players getting roughed up is ridiculous.  If you wear the C, you are the leadership on the team.  You are the heart, soul, and backbone of the time.  If you don’t have the drive, the passion, and the integrity, take it off.  This is my main point, let me expound:

I’ve mentioned before that I played high level volleyball (AA and AAA) when I was younger, and provided my hand recovers, I’ll hopefully get back to it.  My experience with the coach was not that he was our leader.  He taught us, yes.  Corrected my form when digging, or laying out for a pancake.  But he didn’t make me play harder because of what he said or did.  He was there to coach, not lead. 
I wasn’t the leader either, being good enough to be scouted doesn’t mean I was a natural leader in addition to a natural libero.  No, an outside hitter was our captain, and he was a damn good one.  He wasn’t the best player in the game, or at his position, or even at his particular strengths.  But he knew when to yell at us, when to give us a pat on the back, and when to applaud us.  He played with his heart, and made us want to. 

My point is, leadership didn’t come from the coach, or the best player.  It came from the best leader.  Right now, I don’t see Iggy as the best leader on the ice.  I hardly see any players worthy of being called a leader on the Flames based on their presence off and on the ice except for maybe Great American Eric Nystrom. 

Maybe it’s time to take the C away. Whether we give it to someone more worthy right away, or hold on to it until someone truly steps up (a la Sharks this year), I don’t know. But to me, the coaching is not the problem. The lack of on-ice leadership is.  I love Iggy, I do. But if he can’t play heart and soul anymore, find someone who can and will.

  1. March 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I hardly see any players worthy of being called a leader on the Flames based on their presence off and on the ice except for maybe Great American Eric Nystrom.

    …and mark giordano, natch. 😉

    • Arik
      March 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      But he went to…RUSSIA!

  2. March 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Fully agreed. The coach has made plenty of mistakes (like the regularly discussed 4th-line-on-icing-faceoffs), but the desire has to come from the players. There is going to be a lot of work to be done this off-season (g’bye Daz), but figuring out where Iggy fits into the picture is maybe the most difficult. With his best years behind him, its time for him to step off the first line (and maybe give up the C as well).

    Should we start a “Harvey the Hound for Captain” campaign? Born and bred Calgarian, who gave up his freakin’ tongue for the team. The guys a trooper, and really, what’s more motivating than pounding on a drum?

  3. Justin Azevedo
    March 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    It’s pretty easy for me: Sutters need to go, and then everything will fix itself.

    Iggy is still the leader. He is the most vocal, and he is still able to lead by example. He drops the gloves when he feels it will help the team. He plays physical (although a little less so this year, admittedly,) and he still has the raw talent & counting numbers that go with them. In all seriousness, who do you give it to if you take it away from Jarome? Who is respected as much as he is in the room? I realize it’s a weak argument-you can’t take it away because there’s no one else to give it to.

  4. Arik
    March 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I haven’t been in the Flames locker room, no, I don’t think anyone here really knows what that atmosphere is like. But I see the behavior on ice, and as I mentioned, there’s plenty of times where he’ll shy away from standing up for his teammates. That’s not leadership. If he was a real leader, we wouldn’t have the effort issues. Firing Sutter the elder will fix a lot of things, but not necessarily apathy on ice.

    Also, take the C away from everyone until someone earns it.

  5. Hayley
    March 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I actually wrote about this last summer before I started blogging, I think it might have been in a facebook note or something…
    Anyways, now I can’t really decide if I feel the same or not. I certainly don’t want to see Iggy go like some people do and I think he can still be very effective in a lesser role, but aside from hoping that stripping him of the ‘C’ motivates him a la Patrick Marleau or Mike Modano, I can’t really see any reason to do so. If there is a leadership problem, I don’t know if it necessarily begins and ends with Iggy. The only player I can think of that might be the best choice to replace him right now if they did decide to take it away? I don’t know, maybe Regehr? I don’t really like the whole no captain thing, but on a team with so many supposed ‘leaders,’ maybe it’s not a bad idea.

  6. Justin Azevedo
    March 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The “no captain” thing hasn’t exactly worked out well for Toronto and Montreal.

    If you need to be motivated to play better, then you shouldn’t be in the league, plain and simple. I know of one player my entire life who didn’t give it his all when he was on the ice, and he was subsequently cut. Add in the fact that these guys are being paid and it makes it even more inexcusable.

    • Arik
      March 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      It worked out pretty well for San Jose- stripped Marls of the C, waited until Blake stepped up, now they have 104 points.

      As far as “motivation” goes, I don’t buy that for one second. It’s like any other job, especially since they’re paid. Some days guys show up ready to work their asses off, some days they’re listless and bored. Hell, if Kyle Wellwood can not give a shit an entire offseason, show up 40 pounds overweight, lie about it, and still be a fulltime player, why wouldn’t you be surprised that some guys are just apathetic some games?

      • Justin Azevedo
        March 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but Marleau was stripped of his C in the off-season, and Blake got it in the preseason-so they never played a regular season game without a captain. And Toronto and Montreal are still without captains, so that’s more what I was referring to.

        And I suppose you are right in the motivation category. It just makes me sad that a 16 year old can have more dedication to something then a 30 year old who gets paid millions of dollars to do it.

  7. Arik
    March 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    No, that’s right, the point being though that someone stepped up. If Blake hadn’t, they’d’ve (I love absurd contractions) gone into the regular season without a C.

    Yeah, the motivation thing is saddening too, but true.

  8. March 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    give it to regehr. i’ve said that a zillion times. nobody else in this era has called out his teammates more, nobody is funnier sarcastically, nobody battles harder, nobody horks more, and nobody on this team has a better baldspot (except for nystrom). seems obvious.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: