Shootout host Kevin Sylvester is a veteran journalist in radio, television and print media. From time to time, Sylvester will be taking time out of his busy schedule to post entries in his blog or answer fan questions.Click here to send Sylvester a question.
Lindy Ruff named Jochen Hecht the captain for the month of February, making Hecht the first repeat captain this season.
This move did not surprise me at all. I actually told some colleagues last week that I thought Jochen would get the nod again.
When you think about it, the answers are obvious...
Jochen Hecht is exactly what the Sabres need going into the biggest month of the season. He’s consistent. Hecht is the definition of a true professional. He works hard night in and night out, doesn’t get emotional, is an excellent defensive forward and will do whatever is asked of him. Just look at what he did in January (team-record aside).
Hecht moved to center in the wake of injuries to Roy and Connolly, and you could make a case for him to stay there. He has created real chemistry with Clarke MacArthur and Jason Pominville. Tell me you haven’t liked the play of that line over the past four games or so. They draw the top defensive assignment and still have managed to produce highlight-reel goals (see the first 2 in Tampa) with odd man rushes. Hecht also has more ice to cover in that position, but he said after today’s practice that it’s not as tiring on the legs as playing winger where you start and stop on the wall all night long. The freshness shows in ice time as he’s been over 22:00 in each of the last four games. His performance hasn't been all roses, as he needs to improve his face off percentage, which has been below 40% in three of the last four games.
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Listen to Jochen Hecht talk about being selected captain for the second time this season.
There are other players who would have been a good choice or will be a good choice in the future. I can easily picture Derek Roy or Paul Gaustaud wearing the ultimate letter on their sweater someday.
Not yet... Not this month anyway.
The Sabres have 14 games in 25 days, with 10 of them at home. A total of 13 games are against Eastern Conference opponents. Throw the trade deadline in at the end of the month, and you have one big pressure cooker for a team that is sitting on the outside looking in right now.
That’s a lot to handle.
Hecht gives off the impression that he can handle anything as he goes about his business. And that’s probably the biggest reason why he has the “C” again this month.
Who knows, he may not give it back.
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