In what may seem as the right decision to some, and a puzzling one to many more, Brent Sutter has decided to choose his own captain. That means that the Devils captain last season, Patrick Elias, will not start the pre-season with the ‘C’ on his sweater. You may have noticed that during yesterday’s training camp opening photos, Patty did not have the ‘C’ on his new RBK edge jersey.
In retrospect, probably the right decision. While Patrick likely has the respect and admiration of every Devil, and certainly every Devil fan, he was simply not the man for job. He tried to hard, and it certainly hurt his offensive statistics. Without the ‘C’, he scored 45 points in 36 games in 2006, after returning from his bout with Hepatitis. With the ‘C’ this season, he went on long periods of barren offensive play, and seemed unsure of himself – not a good quality for the captain of a team. Despite this, he still lead the club in scoring, with 69 points in 75 games.
Perhaps the biggest difference came in the playoffs. In the ’06 playoffs, Patrick spanked the Rangers to the tune of six points and a total of 16 points in the playoffs. While Patty had 10 points in the two rounds of the ’07 post-season, he failed to put the tiny black thing in the net after a magnificent shot from the wing in Game 1 vs. Tampa.
Is Patrick our best player? Yes. Does that mean he should be captain? No. Give it to John Madden. He’ll do the job just fine, and be able to pass it on to Parise or Zajac or Clarkson in a few years.