There is some debate about the concept of captains and alternate captains in hockey. A few teams in the NHL have opted not to have a captain, instead preferring to have a slate of alternates, sometimes rotating duties. One of those teams is the Ottawa Senators, and as we come closer to what would have been the end of the 2019-2020 regular season, the team will be going into another off-season with no captain.
At the moment, there are a few candidates for that spot and your choice for that “C” depends largely on your philosophy of the position, not simply who your favourite player is. The names that have been thrown out there, particularly this season are primarily Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, and Mark Borowiecki.
If you want Thomas Chabot to take over as captain, it’s probably because you think that the “best” or most skilled player on the team should wear the “C.” You look back at the long list of greats in the NHL and many of them captained their teams: Gretzky, Messier, Lemieux, Crosby…the list goes on and on.
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Does Chabot fit that bill? This is a bit of a tough question. In this shortened season, Chabot has 6 goals and 33 assists. This is not a stellar number, but the team has been terrible this year and he still gives us flashes of game-breaking ability.
He also has an understated personality, which lends itself well to the constant PR he would have to do. I would argue that Chabot is the more “obvious” of the choices.
Brady Tkachuk “arrived” this season. Not only does he lead the team with 44 points, but his ability to get under the skin of his opponents was also on full display this season. That combination of “grittiness” and the ability to get points is not a common thing. He’s also a fan favourite for his ability to connect with fans and his “cheeky” personality.
However, the argument has been made that putting the added pressure of the captaincy on Tkachuk’s shoulders would not allow him to be the player we know he can be. Certainly, something to think about.
This year, an increasing amount of Sens fans started to express their desire to give Boro the captaincy. He’s been a loyal and hard-working player for the team but his off-ice contributions have turned him into even more of a fan favourite. This includes his accessibility and interactions to fans through his Instagram account, his vocal support of the LGBTQ+ community, and his apprehension of a thief in Vancouver.
I don’t think there is anyone who denies that Borowiecki should wear an A full time, but giving him the C might be a harder sell.
Like a lot with this, there are no easy answers and this may continue to be up in the air.
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As the uncertainty of 2019-2020 drags on, the hope of the draft continues to keep Sens fans positive, and the future of the team remains on the top of everyone’s minds, throw in the “controversy” of who the next captain of the Ottawa Senators should be into the mix.