I know it seems like another time, but I just wanted to mention our Swedish captain. You know, the shy retiring Art Ross/Hart Trophy Wondertwin that some were saying was just too damn nice to be a captain and take this team where they need to go. Canadian captains win Cups. MAYBE a Yank. Yeah, Nicklas Lidstrom, but he is an amazing part cyborg freak, you know? Well, I know it's early, but lets look at the early returns...
October 20th, after a pretty mind boggling 6-2 loss, punctuated by Rypien's momentary lapse of reason . Some were bringing up what they saw as Ryp' disrespecting his captain...blah...blah blah. ( did you see that? at the ## second there...see? He pushed Hank!! WTF? I bet he wouldn't have pushed Kesler like that!!)
All our Quiet Swede did, according to the reports our crackerjack media panzer corps provided with breathless zeal and warp factor five speed, was have the old "players only meeting". What was said? Was there cake? Did anybody cry? Who held back Rypper from the caterer before he went all Randy Moss on him?
The MPC went to work after the game that followed, a 2-1 S/O loss against THE rivals from the Second City. One where they played waaaaay better, but lost the .coin flip,wheel spin, dice roll skills competition.
What came out afterwards was just the same mantra he had told us fans after the loss in interviews the night it happened. "Just play our game. Play the way that we know we can both on the road and at home. ". I would imagine there was the various profanities thrown in here and there amongst the room, but that was the gist. No throwing of rookies against the wall, no hyperbolic statements to the media egging on that response, because panic and "something to talk about" sells papers and gives the TEAM guys something to talk about. What is with this quiet and reasoned logic you speak of Hank?
The result? They went out in the Minny rematch and beat them soundly, 5-1. Much closer against the divisional rival Avs, but another win, 4-3. 3-0 in the battle of the Olympic goaltenders. A game where they showed they still have some defensive cajones as well. But over all three games, they went forward and put tried to put their stamp on the proceedings.
Then out on the road for two. "Still haven't won a road game, have ya?", the MPC intoned. Both games were wins, and in both, for the first half in the Oiler game, and most of the Avs game, they did play their way. AV seems to be at least trying to subvert his natural impulse to try and "lock down" a game, seeing what is going on. They are just better when they push the game and go forward. You don't win a Jack Adams trophy by being a dummy. AV can see it too. You win a Jack Adams by having a team performing its best. This is how the Canucks are their best right now.
Which brings us to the Wings tilt. A mouth watering game for fans and the media guys alike. It was a game where the Canucks won by doing just what Hank had said those 17 days ago. Where the team rallied and proved that they could win that way, doing it in impressive fashion. Screw these 3 games in 4 days excuses the Wings players offered up ( with the caveat of"not an excuse or anything" )afterward. They got beaten by a team with offensive talent that scored on the PP, SH and even strength, playing "their" game. It was the captain that set up the GWG with another flat and ready to shoot pass ( and yes, it was intended for Edler, not a miss to Kesler...). Not that the 'Nucks want to play like that defensively all the time. But they can, when needed. Just as they can play defensive as well.
Again, its how the Wings do it. Maybe there is something to how Gillis has mentioned that team as a template. Perhaps Hank sees the same in their leader? Maybe Hank see's Nick as a role model as a Swedish captain, maybe not. It would not be a bad thing.
I just wanted to point out how well his words were heeded, and that his leadership was a factor in the current good times that grew from bad. And it was done quietly and with confident assertiveness, much like both men.
Here is hoping that when they hit some bad times, they remember and listen to Hank and the other leaders on the team. Here is also hoping that we put to bed any lingering doubt in the " Euro captains will never win the Cup" folks might have. They have not won anything yet of course, but I am continually impressed by the teams' choice in a leader. ( When Hank was asked about this 5 game trip on the daily dose from SNET..."This should be pretty easy. After last year, a five game trip does not seem too tough.." ) Smiling and joking. Self deprecating, unassuming and happy..almost...Canadian (?)
Go Hank Go.