Head Coach Dallas Eakins did not take his job of naming a captain of the Oilers lightly. He told the media back at the start of training camp that he would take his time to find the right man for the job. He found the right guy in Andrew Ference.
Of all the roles that Ference will perform as captain of the Oilers, the most important will be unifying a dressing room that is attempting to change the culture of the organization. Eakins delivered some glowing compliments of his captain and discussed his role as a unifier today.
"He's everything you look for," said Eakins. "You start rattling off words like compete, honest and commitment, a guy who can communicate. Everything you talk about as a leader, that's what this young man is. The biggest thing for me is his ability, that I know he can do, is unite an organization. He's the most important person in this organization. It's not (General Manager Craig MacTavish) and it's not me. it's your captain.
"He's the one who has to unite your organization and unite your players because they're all in there trying to get to a certain place. They all have a common goal. He has to find a way to include them all, push them in the right direction, inspire them, hold them accountable, he's got a lot of different jobs and he's the right guy for them."
Whether or not Ference can unite the Oilers dressing room could go a long way in determining when the team will break their current seven-year playoff drought.