|Eric Brewer was chosen as the 19th captain in Blues history (Photo by Mark Buckner).
Eric Brewer walks towards the Blues locker room, sometimes stopping briefly to glance at the memories that decorate the walls.
A framed photo of Al MacInnis blasting one of his famous slapshots. Numerous plaques displaying the names of Blues players who have won the Hart, Norris or Vezina trophies. And finally, just before entering the dressing room, a large display featuring the names, photos and dates of every player to wear the captain’s “C” for the St. Louis Blues.
MacInnis, Brett Hull, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens, Dallas Drake, Bernie Federko…
“…(Wayne) Gretzky, the Plagers, (Brian) Sutter,” Brewer adds, making sure those great captains get mentioned, too.
This walk is a familiar one for Brewer, who during hockey season, travels down this hallway for practice, after warm-ups, at the end of each period, after games and once more on his way out of the building.
But now, a familiar face stares back at him each time he passes by.
“It’s a huge honor, a huge compliment,” Brewer said of being chosen as the 19th player to serve as Blues captain. “There’s not really much to say. You just kind of take a look at the board and it kind of explains itself. It’s something I take very seriously and am very proud about.”
In honor of former Blues captain Dallas Drake, the team opted not to sew a “C” on anyone’s jersey to start the 2007-08 season. Players, coaches and management felt the team had plenty of leaders in the locker room, but after a quick start, the wins became few and far between. In February, the team decided it was time to have one unified voice in the locker room.
Brewer was it.
“I think you need to kind of understand where you fit in and what you’re comfortable with,” Brewer said. “I was comfortable with a lot of things. A lot of it I do already, I felt. I think (management) felt like that, too.
“At the end of the day, I was just blown away.”
Being chosen as the team’s captain started a big week in the 6-foot-3 defenseman’s life. He took on greater responsibility at his job and became a father with the birth of his first child, a daughter named Reese, just days later. And despite being given permission by the team to spend a few days with his family, Brewer caught a flight the next day to join the club in Dallas.
It’s that kind of commitment that led management to select Brewer as the team’s captain.
“He keeps guys even-keel by knocking them down a peg if they’re getting a little big for their britches,” said Blues forward David Backes
. “Or he lifts them up from some of the hard times we can have in this business.
“He’s done everything that’s been asked and even more.”
With two months of experience as the team’s captain, Brewer can start the 2008-09 season knowing the Blues are his team to lead. He insists that with the added responsibility, he won’t change his approach to the game.
“You don’t, because if you do, you’re not doing what got you there, got you recognized for that spot,” Brewer said.
So how can Brewer lead the Blues back into the playoffs?
“Just got to play solid hockey,” he said. “At the end of the day, set a positive example and be one of the go-to guys.”