Is there a clear-cut candidate for Thrashers captain?

Last Tuesday I was enjoying the Thrashers opening preseason game with a small group of friends down in section 102. About halfway through the second period one of them, a good friend of mine name of Carl, leaned forward from his seat just behind me and asked, “So who do you think will be the Thrashers captain this year”?

Ron Hainsey celebrates after scoring the overtime winner against St. Louis last fall. Will his teammates lift him up as their team captain this season? (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ron Hainsey celebrates after scoring the overtime winner against St. Louis last fall. Will the Thrashers lift him up as their team captain this season? (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Before I put any cerebral activity to his enquiry, “Ron Hainsey” spilled out of my mouth. He then looked at me as if I had three horns growing out of my head.

And I assure you… I only have two.

When asked why in the world I would think such a thing, I shrugged and replied that maybe it was because he seemed to have step up following the Kovalchuk trade last winter. He appeared to assume more of a leadership role in the absence of any real “captain”, both in practice and in games.

Also, I take into account Hainsey’s contract situation. He will be entering the third season with the team and he’s signed through the 2012-13 season. Since he’s slated to be around for a while, I thought it might be nice to have a captain for more than just a year or so.

But truth be told, I’m not totally sold on the thought of having Ron Hainsey wear the “C”. Clearly I’m not opposed to it, but I can’t honestly say that I think he…or anyone else for that matter…is a clear-cut, obvious, slam-dunk choice for the role.

But if not Hainsey, then who?

My friend’s first counter to my suggestion was that he wouldn’t mind seeing Rich Peverley as captain. He’s as hard working a player as we have on the team and last fall he even agreed to re-up for at least two more seasons.

About the only thing I could say against such a proposal is that the few times I have spoken to Peverley he seems to be very soft-spoken…not the type who would seek undo attention or spotlight. I don’t mean that in any negative manner mind you, but he didn’t strike me as the kind who would be among the first to get in someone’s face or call a player out in the locker room.

But again, that’s just a personal observation and if he were to assume the role, I would have no issue whatsoever with that.

Nik Antropov had an outstanding performance in his first season as a Thrasher. Should he be awarded the "C" in his second year? (AP)

Nik Antropov had an outstanding performance in his first season as a Thrasher. Should he be awarded the "C" in his second year? (AP)

Andrew Ladd was another name that got tossed into the mix. The former Blackhawks certainly brings to the table a great deal of “been there, done that, got my name on the Cup twice to show for it” type of experience. He’ll turn 25-years of age in December but already has six NHL campaigns under his belt.

As I nodded my head in approval of Ladd possibly taking on the captaincy, I also pointed out that he’s only under contract for one season, becoming an RFA again next summer.

“Yes”, my buddy replied, “But maybe we make him captain, tell him he’s the guy to help build this team around and use that as a way to possibly get him to sign a longer deal”.

Uh-huh…but I think we’ve seen that movie before here in Thrasherville and I don’t think the ending turned out very well. Coach Ramsay even addressed this issue Thursday night by saying he’s seen it tried and “failed miserably” in many places before.

Regardless, I’d certainly give Ladd consideration…if not for the “C”, then at least an “A”.

Another I think will be given consideration is Nik Antropov, who will be entering into his second season of a four-year contract. The 67-point showing last season was a career high and exceeded his previous best by 11 points. This can be attributed to dishing out 43 assists, 16 of which came before he scored his first goal a month and a half into the season.

Nik was brought in thanks in great part to the lobbying of the Thrashers most recent captain, but when Ilya Kovalchuk was dealt to the Devils Antropov certainly didn’t sulk about it. Instead he stepped his game up even more finishing with 11 goals and 14 assists before having t sit out the last two games of the year.

Who should be the Thrashers team captain?

  • Nik Antropov (35%, 64 Votes)
  • Ron Hainsey (23%, 42 Votes)
  • Rich Peverley (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Andrew Ladd (11%, 20 Votes)
  • Zach Bogosian (5%, 9 Votes)
  • Evander Kane (8%, 14 Votes)
  • Someone else (7%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

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His +13 last season and +66 for his career also shows his willingness to play responsibly on the defensive side of the ice. That’s something you definitely want to see from the man wearing the “C”.

Evander Kane…Zach Bogosian? Well, yeah and yeah. I certainly think the two have it in them to become captain at some point in their career, especially Kane. But I have an issue with “appointing” a player as team captain simply because of their potential. This is a something that should be earned based upon experience and respect, and the two young stars have but three total NHL campaigns between them.

Regardless of who ultimately gets to wear the “C” in Thrasherville this season, we may have to still wait a while to find out who that player is. I’ve heard Ramsay say he may opt to roll some “A”s out there and then make a decision. That’s was done here two years ago as you may recall, but back then it was all but a given that it was Kovalchuk who was going to get it. We then scratched our collective heads as to why it took half a season to do so.

But this time around is a bit different, I believe. The player who will be named Thrashers team captain will be the one who will have earned that honor…not just a star player who the franchise is attempting to bribe in order to lock him up long-term.

94 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

September 24th, 2010
9:27 am

Peverly has been my choice from the start

Zoomo

September 24th, 2010
9:28 am

I think its too early to tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ladd emerge as the Captain.

RazorCatchPrey

September 24th, 2010
9:34 am

My vote right now is for Jimmy Slater. He set a great example last year with his work ethic and made it clear when he re-signed that he wants to help this franchise turn itself around and bring winning hockey to Atlanta.

No to Peverly because he’s soft spoken? Yeah, soft spoken guys make terrible captians. *cough*Sakic*cough*Yzerman*cough

You really need a captain who will get in guys faces and bad mouth them to the press. See how well that worked with Holik?

Mikey

September 24th, 2010
9:39 am

Put me down as completely undecided, BlogMaster. There are some good choices there but I couldn’t say just who is the obvious one. I like RazorCatchPrey’s suggestion of Jimmy Slater, though.

GaVaHokie

September 24th, 2010
9:41 am

Ramsay pointed out last night that Hainsey leads a lot of drills in practice.

Another aspect of a Captain that I’ll throw in the mix is the ability to converse with Ref’s and Officials during the course of the game. You need to be aware of the rulebook and the ebb’s and flow’s of the game.

Derrick

September 24th, 2010
9:43 am

I’ll say we’re more than likely to see your last scenario in which we start the season with just A’s until Ramsay and the rest of the coaching staff have more time around the team to see who steps up and really shows that they have what it takes to be the leader of this team. As for who that person eventually becomes, I’ll say that it’s Andrew Ladd. I’ve really liked everything I’ve seen and heard from him since he was acquired. He seems to have that “it” factor that you want in a captain.

Flames

September 24th, 2010
9:48 am

I personally believe it should be Nik Antropov..He leads by example and he is respected in the locker room..He really stepped he game up last year and didn’t complain when his so called friend # 17 left the team..

Joe Friday

September 24th, 2010
9:52 am

Ladd is captain material, but the one year contract precludes that, you’d think. If they do go with the rotation, then I see him stepping up to it for the rest of this year. If not, Antropov is the guy, leads by example.

Joe Friday

September 24th, 2010
9:53 am

Any interesting news from last night’s event? What kind of role did Waddell play? Did he do all the talking, or was Dudley the main guy talking?

GaVaHokie

September 24th, 2010
9:55 am

Joe… you can read over the Live Blog from last night.

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=538404&navid=DL|ATL|home

DWTOO

September 24th, 2010
9:58 am

Hainsey has the vocal side down alright, but, Peverly, Antropov, and Slater appear to be leaders on the ice. Any of them would do OK.

lola

September 24th, 2010
9:58 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing Kane as captain, but I like the reasons given above for Antropov so maybe that’s a better choice.

Sherry Taylor

September 24th, 2010
10:00 am

I think it should be someone who has been here at least one season, someone with a history with the team and the fans. Being captain requires leadership skills, has some experience in the league and shows a maturity, has the ability to communicate (sanely and calmly for the most part, sometimes you want them to lose it a little) with the officials, can communicate with the coaching staff and the players, and he also should be a player who is invested in the team. I agree, I think Hainsey has stepped up since the departure of the non-captain captain Kovalchuk. And, he certainly seems to have the other things. I wouldn’t mind seeing Peverley named captain, either, here is a player whose career has changed completely by coming on board with the Thrashers and if that doesn’t breed commitment and ties, I don’t know what does. Antropov, too, would be a good candidate. But, honestly, the more I see Hainsey in action on the ice, not just talking about his playing skills, the more I see a leader who could be, if given the chance, the heart of the team. He has the confidence of the players and the fans, too, I think.

R. Stroz

September 24th, 2010
10:05 am

The problem is the term expectancy of a Thrasher captain is only one year.

Name someone we don’t want around next season.

waffleboy

September 24th, 2010
10:08 am

The only way Slater ges the “C” is if his play forces Ramsay to give him more ice time. I would love to see Peverly earn it, I just don’t want to put too much pressure on him to be a leader. He either is “that guy” or he isn’t. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it end up being Ladd.

thebigharybeast

September 24th, 2010
10:12 am

I say Antropov. He also helped fill the leadership void when Kovy was traded.

Zim

September 24th, 2010
10:12 am

I’d be very cautious awarding the captaincy to Rich Peverley. While Rich sets a great example with his game and role with the team, as well as his path to the NHL, Peverley is still in the process of establishing himself as a career NHL player.

2010-11 will only be Peverley’s second full season in the NHL and Rich struggled mightily during the second half of last year. After scoring 33 points in his first 33 games, Peverley put up just 22 points in his final 49 contests and was a -19 during that span.

Putting the ‘C’ on Peverley could lay more pressure on his shoulders and, despite his age, Rich is still light on NHL experience.

At this point, I believe that Atlanta will go with either only alternate captains or a rotating ‘C’ until a player emerges. In any event, I believe that Evander Kane is the eventual captain of the Thrashers, but he too does not need any added pressure; jumping into the top six with the expectation to score and score often should be pressure enough for the 19-year old.

drajax

September 24th, 2010
10:21 am

Slater would be a great captain.

J(Z)

September 24th, 2010
10:21 am

I think the best plan would be to rotate captains each month, starting with the guys who have been here at least a year – Hainsey, Slater, Pevs, Antro, etc before getting to someone like Ladd or the young guys like Toby, Kane, Little, Bogo

Spud Webb

September 24th, 2010
10:27 am

Call me crazy, as one of the biggest haters over the years of Slater, I want him to be captian. Here are the reasons:
Despite less Ice time than most, Slats is what I want to see out of our team. Work hard, focus on the things you do well and plays with it. He backs down from no one. Slats skates hard EVERY SINGLE SHIFT. Gutty & determined. He’s been with the team for years now and he wants to see the culture here change. He will say what needs to be said, to the teams face. No going to the media.
All just my opinion.

Rawhide

September 24th, 2010
10:34 am

Any interesting news from last night’s event? What kind of role did Waddell play? Did he do all the talking, or was Dudley the main guy talking?

Joe Friday – Nothing earthshattering, but then no one should expect such at these things. Rammer, Duds and Mason were very good with their responses though. Waddell didn’t “control” the show as most questions were directed to the coach and GM.

I personally believe it should be Nik Antropov..He leads by example and he is respected in the locker room..He really stepped he game up last year and didn’t complain when his so called friend # 17 left the team..

Flames – Can’t argue with that…

The problem is the term expectancy of a Thrasher captain is only one year. Name someone we don’t want around next season.

R. Stroz – Let’s see…Todd White is already gone….

Zim – Agree with your points about not putting too much pressure on Pevs and Kane.

Call me crazy

Spudster – OK….you’re crazy! :cool:

Rightshot

September 24th, 2010
10:36 am

Just to interrupt, here’s a link to a video on rules changes for this season.

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=75548

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

kracker

September 24th, 2010
10:42 am

Hainsey: The plusses have clearly spelled out already and the minuses are few.
Peverley: Zim made a crucial point against: He is not yet that secure in his own game and doesn’t need the additional pressure.
Antro: Solid choice but I would prefer a North American native English speaker.
Bogo/Kane: Too young and green, they need to work on their game.
Little: Ditto as for Peverley.
Ladd: Yes – but only after he plays for some time, demonstrates and talks that he bleeds blue and he has to have extended.
Slater: Great choice, but only IF in Ramsay’s roll three scoring lines system, Slater earns the ice time to justify the C.

Smoothie

September 24th, 2010
10:46 am

Red Light

September 24th, 2010
10:51 am

Antropov is the captain!

Red Light

September 24th, 2010
10:52 am

He speaks English very well.

GAY4SLAVA

September 24th, 2010
11:00 am

Hainsey?

You better believe it.

Just call him “Captain Ron.”

Savannah Blueland Fan

September 24th, 2010
11:15 am

Antropov or BUST!!!! Didn’t I just vote on this last week?

Zoomo

September 24th, 2010
11:21 am

I’m your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I’m your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I’m getting closer to my home . . .
I’m getting closer to my home . . .

FormerIslesFan

September 24th, 2010
11:21 am

This has been an ongoing discussion since last year when the “C” was traded. I don’t know that I have anything more to add for reasons that has not already been discussed. I think that teams need to have a Captain and that leadership by committee simply doesn’t work. I also recognize that there may not be a clear-cup choice for Captain and that decision may have to be delayed a little until one emerges.

The one thing that very few of us know (with the exception perhaps of RH and Flames) is what the locker room presence of the players is like. That, to me, is one of the most, if not the most, critical element of what we are discussing and unfortunately, I just don’t think we have the information we need to be fully informed. However, as we’re not the ones that make the final decision, it is fun to speculate!

That being said, my thoughts: If we had to choose a “C” today, I would go for either Antro or Slater. Both demonstrate what I consider to be the Captain’s ethic from what I’ve seen. Otherwise, I have no problem giving this team another two weeks to gel and see who, if anyone, emerges as the leader by the time we’re ready to drop the puck for real.

Just my $.02.

Darkhorse

September 24th, 2010
11:29 am

I guess I watched another version of Hainsey last year. I don’t think he stepped his game up after the Kovy deal at all, not for a 4.5mil guy. He always shows flashes for a few games, but then goes right back to the blown coverage, won’t go into the corners and fight hard for the puck guy I’ve watched for the past few years. His play was mediocre overall, does not display the toughness you see from Bogo, Kane, Slater, Kubina(last year), and most others on the team. He talks a good game, but so can a used car salesman on the last day of the month.

There is not a clear C on the team right now, for the reasons mentioned above. If Hainsey truly steps his all-around game up, then it will be noticed by Ramsay, but I bet Dudley would trade him and his salary in a sec if he could.

Plus the guy has NEVER even been to the playoffs. I agree with others here, I am very tired of the one year captain, but too many red flags here for Hainsey. Keep the A, but no thanks to the C.

TrueBlue

September 24th, 2010
11:30 am

I am ALL for Slater getting the C. I think many teams around the league have forgotten what a “Captain” actually is. It’s not the superstar or the highest scorer. It is the player that shows dedication, determination, and hard work to the team. The Captain is a player where the team always comes first and the player comes second. That is Slater in a nutshell.

If it were to happen, Slater may be the LEAST known Captain in the entire NHL, and I am totally with that!

Mike

September 24th, 2010
11:37 am

Hainsey seems like a leader in that room. My other considerations would be Antropov or perhaps someone like Jim Slater.

World Be Free

September 24th, 2010
11:46 am

Jimmy earned my respect last season, he hustled all the time. But I believe your captain has to be a top 6 forward or top 4 defenseman which rules out Slater. My choice is Peverly because he always seems to on the ice in crucial situations, late in periods, late in a tight games and/or in OT. His stuggles do concern me, but struggle or not, he’s an all-around player.

Once you give a player the “C”, you can’t take it back and have him remain with the team. There are rare exceptions to this unwritten rule, but very few. The role of the captain on a successful team is just too important to have the designated team general move back to being just a lieutenant.

Some have suggested Ladd-not a bad choice at all.

Denny

September 24th, 2010
11:59 am

I watched the Thrashers best option for this years Captain play last night, FOUR times in the 1st period he went down to block a shot in an exhibition game – - unfortunately he prefers to be at his home in Tampa Bay than in Atlanta. TOO BAD, BUT when we see someone give up their body like Kubina, we can start considering him with potential “C” charcteristics.

Denny

jake

September 24th, 2010
12:12 pm

C- Antro
A-Ladd
A-Hainsey
A-Little
A-Bogosian

Paminski

September 24th, 2010
12:25 pm

I’d assign the job to Hainsey. Because it is a job. And he seems willing to do it. Not all capable players would take the “C” because it also means additional responsibility they may not want. If you get a reluctant captain, you might get a lazy captain.

Tom

September 24th, 2010
12:27 pm

Rightshot – Thanks for the the link to that video. It was excellent and showed all the new rules changes we are going to see,

Thrashers27

September 24th, 2010
12:30 pm

At the very least Slater should wear an “A”. I’d be happy with Antro, or Ladd wearing the “C”.

Hey Rawhide, why no play over at Hockeybuzz this year?

kracker

September 24th, 2010
12:43 pm

Smoothie would be perfect for covering the Thrashers over at Hockeybuzz. He knows hockey, likes to post and has an internet friendly job. Though I do not know how many games the Smoothe family attends.

jimbo

September 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

Thrashers27

September 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

Coincidentally, Eklund says Thrashers are talking to Devs about Zubrus.

Russian

September 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

Buff is a good Captain. I know he is only one year, but he will be RFA. We can sign to long contract.

kracker

September 24th, 2010
1:10 pm

That is a good point, Paminski. The captain can’t be conscripted, he must be a willing leader.

Smoothie

September 24th, 2010
1:12 pm

kracker – thanks, appreciate the kind words and encouragement. Where do I send the check!? ;-)

Funny that you mention Hockeybuzz as I just sent Eklund an e-mail today. We’ll see what happens. Would love to have a forum like that to write creatively and talk hockey.

Zubrus to ATL doesn’t seem that farfetched considering Dudley’s affinity for Russian C. I always liked Dainus in Washington, but not as much now. But I think Dainus would be a great name for a big-a$$ dog like a Great Dane or giant Mastiff.

kracker

September 24th, 2010
1:18 pm

The Eklund post does’t expressly say the Thrashers? Devils talks concern Zubrus, only that they are talking. Zubrus might meet NJ’s salary dump needs and he is not out of the Spirit groups range perhaps.

DWTOO

September 24th, 2010
1:22 pm

Zubrus – I certainly hope not! We already have our over the hill reclaim for the year. Not a step in the right direction.

And Smoothie would be a great blogger for Hockeybuzz. His optimism would reverberate all thru the frozen north and further the cause of Canadian NHL envy.

Rawhide

September 24th, 2010
1:23 pm

Hey Rawhide, why no play over at Hockeybuzz this year?

Thrashers27 – I stopped that after last season…it just got to be a lot of work trying to do both here and there, (plus keep up with my actual job and still have a family life). I truely enjoy running this site and so I decided if I had to keep one, this was it.

That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy writing for HockeyBuzz, because I really, really did.

Rightshot – Great link…thanks.

Thrashers27

September 24th, 2010
1:35 pm

That’s what I figured, Bill.

I don’t blame you one bit. I’m sure it can be very overwhelming. You do a great job here! Thanks! The AJC should be paying you if they aren’t.

Rawhide

September 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

Thrashers27 – Paying…me…for…this…???

hmmmmmmm…….

Hey, now that’s a thought. I’ll have Trixie call my online editor Chuckie about that! :grin: