The Carolina Hurricanes have been without a team captain since Feb. 28. Will they have one on Oct. 13, when a new season begins?
Eric Staal is gone but a Staal could still be the captain next season. Jordan Staal appears to be a logical choice to be his brother’s successor and wear the “C.”
General manager Ron Francis and Canes coach Bill Peters are not in a hurry to make a decision on a captain. Francis, at the recent Summerfest, called it an “important title” and said he has had conversations with Peters about it.
“We’ll be very patient going into the season (and) see how things play out,” Francis said. “If we’re comfortable putting the ‘C’ on somebody we’ll do that. If we want to take the route of multiple assistant captains we’ll look at that as well.”
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Eric Staal wore the “C” from January 2010 until his trade to the New York Rangers on Feb. 28. It was noted the Canes had not been to the playoffs with Staal as captain. Some fans believed he was not a strong enough leader, not by his play on the ice, although no complaints were heard — privately made or otherwise — inside the room.
Staal said he welcomed being the captain. That probably wasn’t the case on that day in 2010, before practice at Raleigh Center Ice, when the team was told Rod Brind’Amour was giving up the “C” and Staal was the new captain. There was tension in the room that day.
Jordan Staal has been an alternate captain since being traded to Carolina from Pittsburgh in June 2012 and Justin Faulk has worn an “A.” Staal will entering his 11th NHL season and fifth with the Canes, and Faulk will be in his sixth season.
The view here: Jordan Staal will wear the “C” when all is said and done. He was the Canes’ most valuable player last season and could be again this year. He has a Stanley Cup ring from his days in Pittsburgh and wants another one with Carolina.
Having his brother traded to the Rangers did not set well with Staal. That was clear but also understandable. But Francis says after talking with Staal, his feeling is that Staal is excited about next season. that he’s ready to move on and again carry a large share of the load.
Faulk, a two-time NHL All-Star, should continue to wear an “A.” It might be a good time to give Jeff Skinner, about to begin his seventh season, an “A” and with it the task of added leadership.
Multiple alternate captains are an option for the Canes. Having a strong captain seems a better one.