Coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance with most of the roster returning in tact, there does not appear to be a lot of questions about the Sharks roster heading toward training camp, although there always seems to be a player who steps up and takes a job.
However, for the second year in a row, there is a debate about who will be the team’s captain, a result of Rob Blake retiring in the offseason.
“We’re in the same situation we were in last year,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’ll look and see if someone steps up and takes the role. We certainly believe that the person is in the room and we have to give him a chance.”
The “C” in hockey is one of the most revered positions in sports, and while the right choice is important, the way McLellan operates, it’s not like anointing one person to wear the letter will completely change the dynamic of the club. It will more enhance what the Sharks already have. McLellan regularly meets with the team leaders, regardless of whether they wear a letter on their sweater and that is not expected to change.
Current Sharks who have worn a “C” or “A” for San Jose include: Dan Boyle
and Joe Thornton
who wore an “A” last year, Patrick Marleau
who has admirably worn the “C” in the past, and Joe Pavelski
and Ryane Clowe
who have worn an “A” to fill in when others have been injured. Even with these pedigrees, the chosen one could be another Sharks player who McLellan sees fitting the mold.
There is no exact clone of Blake in the Sharks lockerroom but each potential captain has his own strengths.
“With Rob setting the standard, someone is going to have to live up to it,” said McLellan.
As for a time frame, McLellan, who will obviously consult with Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and others, says there is no rush. Last year McLellan announced his decision on September 30, which is the date this year the club will depart for Germany. It could come before or after that, but McLellan showed he made the right pick for last year so fans should rest easy about the timing of this year’s decision, no matter how anxious they are for it to be made.
How the decision will come down will be a group effort to ensure it is the right decision.
“We’ll check with management and the staff and introduce the players (to the process) and make a decision when the time is right,” said McLellan.