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by Daryl "Razor" Reaugh / Dallas Stars

Two of the three Western Conference teams sans a team captain square off at AAC on Thursday with a trip to the playoff perhaps on the line. If either the Stars or the Bluejackets get the 8th seed they will draw the team that boasts the best captain in the league right now - "Captain Serious", Jonathan Toews.

So lets take a look at the 12 team captains in the Western Conference:

Jonathan Toews (Chi) - Wills his mates. Plays to win every night. Makes those around him better and the opposition worse. Money in shootouts and on the dots. Dedicated. Determined. Winner.

Shane Doan (Pho) - Not the player he once was but; Physical. Even-toned voice in room. Likes to win.

Joe Thornton (SJ) - The opposite of Captain Serious as far as demeanor. Likes to enjoy the process. Premium setup man. Playoff grit questioned in past. When he digs in, they win.

Mikko Koivu (Min) - The Wild's best player. Touches every aspect of the game. Covers teammates imperfections

Ryan Getzlaf (Ana) - As he goes, Ducks go. Not a great face off man but is consistently physical and has wonderfully soft hands for setting teammates up.

Henrik Sedin (Van) - The Playmaking twin. Unfair, as he has his brother to aid him - always, and forever.

David Backes (Stl) - Big bruising center who draws head to head assignments. Hitch pushing him to push others. Nasty night for opposing centers.

Shea Weber (Nsh) - The Preds best player by a mile. He logs tough minutes and owns a frightening shot. Type of captain who has mates backs, but right now he doesn't have much to lead.

Dustin Brown (LA) - Too much of a phony and predatory hitter for my liking. Was terrific for Kings during their run to Cup in Spring. Dropped F-bomb on live TV after Cup clinching win - which was both endearing and dumb.

Henrik Zetterberg (Det) - Tough to takeover the 'C' from a guy like Lidstrom. Just starting tenure with rebuilding Wings. Detroit's head coach would make a great captain.

Gabriel Landeskog (Col) - Youngest captain in NHL history. Unfair to give him 'C'' with very little quality veteran leadership around him but I get sense he'll be a really good one in short order.

Shawn Horcoff (Edm) - Time for Oilers to pass it on to next gen.

Great captains set an example, establish a level of expectation, and are unwavering in doing both.

Derian Hatcher learned to be like that and was a fabulous captain during the Stars halcyon years.

Brenden Morrow grew into one of those too. The 2008 playoff run was exhibit 'A'.

And I would surmise the next Stars captain, whoever that is, will gradually become the franchises next great leader.

Of course, individuals don't necessarily need a letter on the left breast of their jersey to lead. As the saying goes, "Being a leader is like being a lady; If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren't."

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