Other than the New York Yankees for some reason, no sport really gives a flying fuck about having a captain. The NFL will occasionally pay lip service to it, but then coaches pass around that designation like a joint to reward whoever went longest at practice without drinking water or whatever. I assume the Yankees only care so Michael Kay can yell, “The Captain!” whenever Aaron Judge cuts a loud fart and add to the humorless self-importance of everything that goes on in the Bronx. Whenever you need humorless self-importance, Michael Kay is your guy.
But hockey…hockey still thinks it means something. And everyone who’s ever worn a “C” in hockey has been a great captain, if you hear hockey men tell it. You’ve never heard someone, anyone say about a captain, “Yeah that guy was a clueless dickhead. Every time he talked my brain would bubble and I had to be held back from breaking my stick over his head.” Because in hockey, breaking your stick over someone’s head in the dressing room would probably be seen as a keen motivational tactic. “That’s how much it means to that guy!” is what you’d hear from Ray Ferraro or Keith Jones from between the benches the next night. Enjoy your next few years, Flyers fans.
And no one can define what makes a good captain. If a guy is rather quiet, well then he leads by example. If he makes a lot of growling faces and yells a lot at the refs, well then he’s Mark Stone. Or maybe he’s just the best player on Earth like Connor McDavid and everyone rightly figured ain’t nobody in the Oilers’ room telling him what to do. And they’re all examples of LEADERS OF MEN.
Whatever qualities a captain should have, or however they’re supposed to go about doing it, the one thing we can probably agree on is that when the team he leads is down 2-0 in a series, and has just been rocked by giving up a goal in the first minute of Game 3, it is a time for calm. The game is hardly over, the fans are still into it, you’re still at home, there’s plenty of time. Just need to get back to whatever the plan was (although if that plan was hatched by Pete DeBoer you’re probably fucked), and play the game as if it’s 0-0. A guiding hand, the quiet assurance that everything will be fine if the team just sticks to who they are.
Don’t be Jamie Benn
Or you could do what Jamie Benn did and cost your team the whole series. Dealer’s choice:
One would also assume that as captain, LEADER OF MEN, you might take some responsibility for your actions that put your teammates in the deepest, darkest hole. Stand up, be accountable, and show teammates that everyone has to be held up to a standard, even the captain:
Oh. Or that.
Not the time for Benn’s selfish stupidity
It’s nearly impossible to describe the scale of selfishness and stupidity that taking a major and game misconduct at this point was. The Stars were down a goal, with a goalie clearly fighting it all playoffs, and Benn made him face a five-minute power play. This wasn’t even behind the play, but at center ice where even upper-deck beer vendors could spot it. Shit Jamie, why not stunner him from off the Knights bench? It had nothing to do with anything, other than Benn figuring he would never get a better chance to cheapshot Stone, perhaps out of jealousy that Stone is the better player in every way. Hard to calculate how Benn’s teams have never won shit.
The Stars would give up a goal on that ensuing power play, then Jake Oettinger would shrug helplessly at a William Carrier backhander that had the velocity of a squirrel falling out of a tree and the Stars were burnt toast. They proceeded to pull a bunch of dumb hockey shit, which stands to figure a team with this kind of standard set by leaders like Benn and Deboer would do. Cue the consistently level-headed Max Domi also getting his ass tossed and the Dallas crowd littering the ice with garbage in protest of ever having had to watch Domi play in the first place.
But hey, if you’re going to go down, anyone can simply lose. Only the truly, legendarily stupid do it with such gusto. So you’ve got that going for you, Benner. A thud for the ages.
I’m all for Jimmy Butler, Heat blowing 3-0 lead vs. Celtics
I will happily eat shit on burying the Celtics if it means getting to watch Jimmy Butler lead the first NBA team to ever blow a 3-0 lead, but we’re a long way from that yet. What I do understand is the frustration of watching Jayson Tatum cough up a hairball all series, because when he’s on he’s one of the most beautiful players to watch in the league. There’s a balletic languidness to his game, where it feels like everything had been choreographed:
The easy turns and spins to open up space for his jumpers, the quick slices and body shifts to make space at the rim, the ease with which he buries threes, it seems like it’s all set to like the best trip-hop song (you’d know if you’d done a lot of ecstasy or molly in your past). Only need it three more times. How hard can that be?
Juan Soto is back
Would seem Juan Soto has rediscovered how to hit the ball in the air again:
In the month of May, Soto has an OPS of 1.116. Glad we could help.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate.