Restoring the Honor of the 'C'


(Photo Credit: Flickr,  Robert Kowal)
The Captain 'C' is an honor that is sought for all throughout the NHL. We know the value in wearing it but lately for the Islanders it has been nothing but a stitched design to add to the jersey.
After Denis Potvin stepped aside there has been a lot to be desired in terms of leadership for the team. Becoming captain for the Islanders has been more of a charity based on accomplishments in other uniforms rather than earning through working in the organization.
Looking at the Islanders' current captain, the honorable Mark Streit, it is easy to see why he is the captain. He is restoring form to an honor that has lost most of its meaning through the last few captains.
Streit struggled last year but as a talented player, choosing to play on Long Island, is enough for the fans to let that slide. He has been a great example for the many young players on the team through his NHL experience and international play.
The Islanders' captain lineage leaves a lot to be desired. It does not exactly ring like a desirable, applicable job but Mark Streit is working to restore it. He is a player actually playing in their prime building on a career not winding it down like Guerin and Weight were.
He has the respect of the players, organization and fan base because of his willingless to play on a hockey team in a success drought. He broke the tide of free agents unwillingness to don the Islanders' crest. Mark Streit is a quality NHL defensemen and brings credibility to the Islanders' blue line and locker room.
Taking a look at the last 4 captains before Streit in Michael Peca, Alexei Yashin, Bill Guerin and Doug Weight, they resemble the names of valuable, serviceable NHL players. However, Guerin and Weight did not earn the captaincy in orange and blue. It was handed over like a baton that has no weight. The honor means a whole lot less than it did when Clark Gillies was blocking shots. However, the stock is on the rise.
The fan base knows who is waiting in the on deck circle to take that captaincy to the next level.  He is the future and present. John Tavares is a captain in the waiting and he will have earned it. Until then Mark Streit will need to uphold the image and keep the rebuilding process going in restoring the honor in the 'C'.
When Bryan McCabe and Trevor Linden share the same honor as Clark Gillies and Denis Potvin, the Islander fans know they have endured some tough times. Mark Streit has done his part to be an actual leader in the locker room and the ice. Times are changing on Long Island. The fan base has great memories of fan favorites such as Patrick Flatley and Kenny Jonsson skating with this letter stitched on their jerseys but it won't mean as much as it will when 91 takes hold of it.
In time, John Tavares will be the captain and he will have earned it. He will not only be the best player on the Islanders' but one of the best young players in the NHL. He signed a long term deal with a team committed to a rebuilding process. Tavares will wear a 'C' but in essence, for the next 5-10 years he should wear an 'S' for Savior. Everyone in this fan base knows he is the one life line to making it back to the main stream NHL.
The organization has been ship wrecked for a long time and Tavares is the one flare. His play screams "Look at us, NHL, we do EXIST." They haven't been listening but eventually when their captain scores 50-60 goals, they will have to listen.
He is their chance of being rescued because the Islanders' would have drowned without him. He is keeping a sinking franchise afloat off the shore of an island ready to give up on them.


rmo214's picture

The problem I see is that while it is a given that Tavares might wear the "C" in the near future, if the team does not surround him with better talent, it will still be listed as a one line team. A one line team is a lot easier to play against and that will lead him to try to do too much and this will take its toll on his production. Remember, in years past, it wasnt always the best player on the team that wore the "C". It was usually given to a player that had the quality to lead on and off the ice, but it also let the best scorers concentrate on scoring without the extra pressure. Can Travares be a player that could do both, with his work ethic, sure he can, but for the Islanders, past performance dictates otherwise. Look how the production of past captains went down after they were awarded the "C". McCabe, Streit, Linden, Jonsson. Personally, I think there are still a lot of holes to fill. The team DOES have some good talent coming up, but still think they have to get better overall players in certain areas or we are just going to keep drawing a lottery for 1st overall draft pic. Its not just a new arena that will attract better talented players here. If you get a roster with a better supporting cast, other players will come. Doesn't help winning a few more games and not have the mental collapse in the first few months that they have had the last couple of years. Got to get the respectability back. Sorry for the long rant.