There’s an article up over at the big site, detailing the Carolina Hurricanes’ decision to name Eric Staal captain in place of Rod Brind’Amour. The quotes from ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford are what one would expect; a statement that Staal is the player the rebuilding effort will centre on, that Brind’Amour has been a fantastic leader and will continue to be one.
From a P.R. perspective, I expect this to be a win in Carolina (although the early voting over at Canes Country is pretty evenly split). When a team is suffering through the kind of season that the Hurricanes are, they need some sort of positive news story, and putting the spotlight on Staal in this way does that. It shows some action by the team, helps sell hope, and simply moves the timetable up a little bit on something that was going to happen anyway.
Off all the players on the Canes roster, none is struggling as much as Brind’Amour right now; he’s producing negligible offence and is sitting at a team-worst minus-23 (although, as usual, some of that isn’t his fault). It’s possible that removing the captaincy makes it easier for Brind’Amour to focus on his game; while I’m always skeptical of the impact moving letters around has on a team, there’s no denying the impact it has on an individual player.
For Staal, this simply reinforces the message that he got when Carolina signed him to a seven season contract worth just under $60 million: he is the piece Carolina has chosen to build the team around. With any luck, the message will also get through to fraudsters like Eklund, who as recently as two months ago was saying Staal could be bound for Edmonton in exchange for Andrew Cogliano and Denis Grebeshkov.