Loose Change: Captain, my captain

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I can’t help but wonder at the rationale and logistics behind the Vancouver Canucks recently naming goaltender Roberto Luongo as their newest captain. Sure, it’s an honor for him, but what is he really getting from all of this?

In case you weren’t aware, goaltenders are not really allowed to be captains of NHL teams as stated (partially paraphrased) in Rule 14D of ‘The Big Book of NHL Rules and Stuff’: “No playing coach or playing manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as captain or alternate captain even if the dude, like, carries the team; although you’d think one of those two Swedish Siamese twins would have broken free of the other and at least shown some signs of minor leadership qualities they could work with, but to reiterate, no goalies wearing no C’s and such.”

This means Luongo is captain in name only. He can wear a ‘C’ on his mask but it comes with none of the inherent privileges of the job. This is like telling Superman he can wear the suit, but no busting through walls, no leaping off buildings in a single (or even a double) bound and save that x-ray vision thing for home.

He can’t leave his crease to talk to an official, nor does he have any of the other powers that come with being a captain or even an alternate captain of a hockey team (for the life of me I have no idea what “other” rights that would encompass – valet parking perhaps?).

Because of these restrictions, Canuck defenseman Willie Mitchell will handle all of the on-ice conferencing with the referees and linesmen. In effect, this simply means he gets vital information a moment or two before his common, proletariat teammates. He’s nothing more than the newly married couple who get first crack at the buffet.

Luongo, on the other hand, is relegated to patrolling his crease like the angry Rottweiler on the ten-foot chain, barking while thieves rummage through the cash drawer 15 feet away. His power is hollow. He’s a puppet, which makes you wonder why the team would choose to do this in the first place.

In all reality, Luongo’s center of power is anything not on the ice. In the dressing room, he’s the man. In the shower he gets the hottest water. His rule, it would seem, is limited to choosing chick flicks over action thrillers on the team bus.

As long as it’s not about hockey directly, and it doesn’t happen while we’re on skates, certainly come see me about it.

Which is likely why the Vancouver Canucks did this in the first place. They’re sending a message. In naming a captain whose very position comes with rigid restrictions and limited legal mobility they’re saying a lot.

Either Roberto Luongo is simply an incredibly inspiring individual who demands authority, or the leadership options you have available on your team are as sparse as Darren Pang’s hairline.

When one cooped up hen is preferable to 24 free-range chickens, you might have a problem.

The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.

Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at charlieteljeur@hotmail.com


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