Some may have found it hard to believe based on his on-ice accomplishments, but 15-year veteran Bill Guerin had never been a captain before coming to Long Island. Guerin has won a Stanley Cup, made three All-Star Game appearances and represented the United States at the Olympics, but had never donned the captain's "C" at the NHL level. Within days of his arrival to the Islanders, players likely found it even harder to believe that Guerin had never captained an NHL team based on his personality and leadership qualities.
Many fans on Long Island had the opportunity to meet the personable Guerin off the ice, whether it was at the Islanders' practice facility at Iceworks or by visiting a hospital or school. Guerin's teammates had the privilege of working with him day in and day out and they acknowledged his work on and off the ice by selecting him to be the Islanders' King Clancy Trophy nominee for leadership.
Below, players give their insights on Guerin's first season as Islanders captain.
Aaron Johnson: "He is a great leader and a great guy. You can easily look up to a guy like that with some great experience and a lot of points to prove it. He’s a great player and a very likeable guy. Billy is a good guy to have in the room because he's able to speak up and push guys. He’s a good guy on and off the ice. I know there are a lot of situations where a guy can talk a lot and not back it up, but he talks and backs it up."
Trent Hunter: "Billy was great all year. He'd obviously been a leader on different teams, but this was his first time as a captain. Billy brought the guys closer in the locker room. He always made sure everyone was involved with things. Billy helped out with the younger guys and the older guys. He was good to everybody."
Bruno Gervais: "I've learned a lot from Billy. You could see right from the start that he's a leader and a great guy. He's been in the NHL for a long time and he's won a Stanley Cup. It's impressive when you have a guy like him with that personality coming into the locker room. He likes the Island, which is also a good thing. We hope to have him around for a long time because he's a great and fun guy. He made the year a good one for us."
Mike Comrie: "We had a lot of new guys in the locker room this year, but Billy did a great job of unifying the group. He is a guy who leads by example, always working hard on the ice. In the locker room, he kept everyone motivated and feeling like they were all part of the team."
Blake Comeau: "You couldn't ask for a better captain in your first year in the NHL. Billy was really welcoming for all of us young guys on the team, especially at the end of the season with so much turnover. Billy is a captain you want to play for every night.