Last Saturday, after taking a very large shoulder from a very large Shark directly to the head, Gabriel Landeskog- youngest captain in the NHL and the next great hope of the Colorado Avalanche- went into a quiet room somewhere in the bowels of the Pepsi Center for concussion testing. Fifteen minutes later he came out again.
No one but Landeskog and the doctor who treated him knows what happened in that room, but we all know what happened after: he came back out and finished the game, in fact playing almost the exact same amount of minutes he’d played in every game before. We also all know that Monday, two days after the hit, the Avs announced he would not be playing in the next game. Leg injury. And, oh yeah, head injury too.
So, reading between the lines (it ain’t hard, there’s enough space between those lines to write the Bible and then some), Landeskog was cleared to play despite having possible/probable concussion. This isn’t an uncommon thing in the modern NHL. Just off the top of my head, I can think of four players- Armstrong, Letang, Peckham, and Crosby- who’ve taken hits, played, and then been pulled later for concussion symptoms. This is not an Avs problem, this is an NHL concussion policy problem.
Last Tuesday, on the eve of his sophomore season in the NHL and at the ripe old age of 19, the Colorado Avalanche named Gabriel Landeskog their captain.
To say that Landeskog is the youngest captain in NHL history sounds like a huge deal, but he is only the most dramatic example of a trend. The four youngest (permanent) captains in NHL history have all been appointed in the 21st century, three of them in the age of this CBA. Across the League, teenage captains are still a comparative rarity, but appointing a captain at 22 or 23 is quite common. Mike Richards, Rick Nash, and Dustin Brown were all crowned at that age. Raise the limit another two years, and you can throw in Phaneuf and Ovechkn, Weber and Getzlaf, the Staal called Eric. If there was ever a time when captaincy was supposed to reflect wisdom, experience, and a deep knowledge of the League honed over thousands of games, that time is over and done. Leadership isn’t something that’s earned anymore. It’s either assumed, as an intrinsic character trait, or conferred, as a time-inverted reward for future performance.
The news is surprising and unsurprising all in the same breath: today the Colorado Avalanche announced that Gabriel Landeskog – the guy who was drafted 14 months ago, the guy who was born in 1992, the guy who can’t drink in Denver for another 14 months – will be given the “C” as captain of the Colorado Avalanche.
Landeskog getting the “C” this early is only surprising given that teams tend to be blinded by the whole age thing, and refuse to think outside the box. Beyond that, Landeskog is the perfect selection: he’s hard-working, talented, a guy they intend to be the face of the franchise for many years to come, and yes, it has to be said – he does things the “right way.”
People often misinterpret what a captain means to a professional hockey team. I think they picture the guy with the “C” giving some speech at intermission, or calling out a player who’s not giving it their all. It’s the Mark Messier fallacy – we’ve built the perception of the position into something it really isn’t. Read the rest of this entry »
You won’t find this commercial on this list, because Kolzig is awesome.
Big-name athletes, like actors, are celebrities. As celebrities, they’re often asked to appear in commercials, either to endorse products or promote their team and their league. Unlike actors, however, the vast majority of them cannot act. At all. This is particularly true of NHL players, most of whom have their personalities surgically removed in Junior and are confused by any dialogue that isn’t “It’s good to get the two points” and “We have to play a full 60 minutes.”
Some directors, however, haven’t figured this out and actually ask NHL players to recite dialogue and emote. This is usually a mistake and NHL players have given some of the worst acting performances in the history of commercials. Here are 10 of them. Anybody expecting Adam Oates’s infamous “Loose Rebounds” commercial, look elsewhere: that’s some great acting with some terrible material.