Today, the New York Rangers announced they will go with six alternates to start the season. After an entire summer of talking about naming a captain, the decision was made that the time isn’t right to name a one.
This was a surprise for many fans, especially after what Gerard Gallant said at the start of training camp. “I don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, but if I was a betting man, I think we will have a captain on day one.”
Day one was clarified as the first game of the season, but that is not the case anymore. So what changed?
Gallant made the final call to not name a captain
“We’re going the route I took before in my past experience (Vegas), where we had six alternates” Gerard Gallant said. “Me, and [GM Chris Drury], and the coaches had a lot of discussions over the last three weeks but this is the direction I feel the most comfortable with.”
Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Jacob Trouba will continue to wear the A. Added this season are Ryan Strome and Barclay Goodrow. Three will wear the A at home, and three others will wear it on the road. The two newest alternate captains are not likely in the mix for the next captain.
Gallant assessed his team at camp and really likes his leadership group. “I feel very strongly about it,” he said. “I think when we talked to our players this morning, they were in agreement. So it was a good decision by us I think.”
Eventually, a captain will be named but Gallant made it clear this was his call.
“There was discussions about having a captain, there was a lot of discussions about what I’ve had in the past,” he said. “When Dru told me that ‘ultimately you’re going to make the final decision on this’, that’s what I came up with. That’s what I feel very comfortable with our group. The six guys are all legitimate captains. Being with them only a month, this is the best direction.”
Gallant tipped his hand from the beginning
The Rangers are one of only six teams in the NHL without a captain. The Sabres, who just stripped Jack Eichel of the letter, along with the Coyotes, Senators, Flames, and Blue Jackets are the others.
However, this decision really shouldn’t come as such a big surprise. Anyone who listened to Gallant talk about the captain heard him downplay the need for one.
“Captains are important to your team, but 23 guys are more important for me,” he said back in September. “Whoever gets the C on our team isn’t going to be alone. We need everybody to be a leader.”
Gallant’s mantra has been consistent since he started talking about naming a captain. He always seemed to fall back on needing everyone to lead, not just one player. At the end of the day, that’s where he landed.
Rangers out on Eichel and is this the last season for Bergevin in Montreal? Read more.