Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Who will be Captain? The Ottawa Senators 2014/15

With the 2014/2015 NHL season right around the corner, I think it is time for a post on my favorite NHL team, the Ottawa Senators.  The season kicks off in just over a weeks time, and the Senators have not yet named a Captain for this year.  The question many fans are asking is who will be named captain(s), if anyone? 

The 3 most popular choices being thrown around by fans and the media are Chris Philips, Kyle Turris, and Eric Karlsson.  

Let’s begin with Chris Phillips.  Chris Philips is Ottawa’s adopted hometown hero.  Like Daniel Alfredsson, but before he left town; Chris Phillips is that renowned player who started his career in Ottawa, and has become a part of our community in the capital city.  Go check out ‘Big Rig Brewery’ (, aptly named after the owner and man himself- Chris ‘BigRig’ Phillips.  He was drafted by the Senators 1st overall in the 1996 NHL entry draft.  Philips has been a steady presence on the blue-line ever since I can remember watching him as a child.   
 Over the last few seasons his play has been on a bit of a decline, as he seems to have difficulty keeping up with the fast pace of current NHL hockey.  Yet, Philips would still be the easy choice for many to be named captain of the Ottawa Senators, simply for his dedication, loyalty, and the amount of time he has spent with the team.  But is that enough?  In my opinion it is not.  If the team wants to move forward, they need to go younger.

This takes us to young-gun, Kyle Turris.  He has been signed-on for a long term deal, and with Jason Spezza being traded to Dallas, Turris will be the teams number one center.  To make Turris the captain, would be adding a tremendous amount of pressure to his new role.  Pressure, such as this, can either make or break a young players like Turris, who is only 25.
  However, I like Turris’ story- he worked his way into the 2007 NHL Draft, getting drafted 3rd overall behind Patrick Kane and James van Reimsdyk.  But, the interesting part of the story is that he stands as the highest ever drafted Tier II Junior "A" player out of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.  Could this determination and perseverance be a reflection of his personality and leadership qualities?  Or would Turris be a better suited as the ‘Assistant Captain’? 

Eric Karlsson, the young charismatic defenseman, has gained league wide appreciation and notoriety with his 2012 James Norris Memorial Trophy win, for the NHL’s best defenceman.  He was selected 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2008 NHL Draft, and he is only 24 years old.  Despite his age, he has quickly become one of the most dynamic players in the NHL.  Like Turris, Karlsson has also signed on for a long term deal with the club. 
Karlsson is the present and the future of the Ottawa Senators.  Karlsson has creativity on the ice and a personality that really shines through during post game interviews with the media.  But a similar question remains for Karlsson, like Turris, is the ‘C’ on his jersey too much added pressure for the young superstar?  However, unlike Turris, Karlsson has already proven to be the go-to player for the Sens,  and I believe he is our ‘chosen 1’.

With the way Daniel Alfredsson left the club last summer, and the whole mess with Spezza, who was our captain for 1yr last season, followed by him being traded to Dallas this past summer, it might not be a bad idea to go with 3 alternate captains for this upcoming season.  Karlsson, in my opinion, is the best pick for future captain of this team, that being said, he could use a year to mature.  I really like Kyle Turris and think he is an integral part of the team, yet he doesn’t lead by example the same way that Karlsson can.  And I love Chris Phillips, but I think having the 3 alternate captains could be best.  Hopefully Philips is not offended by being passed over for a younger player, and can continue to lead with his experience, hard-work, and loyalty.   I don’t think there is any rush to decide.  There is a ton of young talent on the team who needs the proper direction.  Perhaps having the 3 alternate captains, the 3 faces of the team, our young players can learn from each their own unique qualities.  I can only hope that Senators management feels the same way.