by Chet Sellers
Yesterday Paul MacLean announced that he'd decided on Jason Spezza as the new captain of the Ottawa Senators, finally turning the page on the team's Daniel Alfredsson era. For many fans, choosing Spezza was obvious - he's an extremely talented player who's been with the team over ten years, and during that time he's taken more and more leadership responsibility both on and off the ice. But even though Spezza was an obvious pick, he wasn't the only player the Senators considered. So who else was on the list, and where did they fall short? Let's find out!
Why he could have been captain: Often cited by Paul MacLean as part of the team’s “leadership core”; late-blooming journeyman who has overcome adversity to become one of the NHL’s premier goaltenders; teammates describe him as a “shining beacon when things are dark, especially when his head is directly under a pot light”.
Why he wasn't chosen: Only a handful of goaltenders have ever been named team captains, some with disastrous consequences; has perturbed coaches by experimenting with unorthodox “Nosferatu” goaltending style; hard to name captain when team doesn't allow him to use knives.
Why he could have been captain: Longest-serving Senator and current assistant captain; has been with the team through thick and thin, including the 2010-11 sell-off; if named captain, promised team 2-for-1 pints with purchase of an entrée (until 6 PM).
Why he wasn't chosen: Though still a leader in the dressing room, his on-ice skills have declined with age; always telling the team's younger players about the "Battle of Ontario", whatever that is; keeps complaining that hard water in the team’s cold tub is “destroying his hops”.
Why he could have been captain: Third longest-tenured Senator; can always be counted on to fire up the team and crowd with a timely hit or fight; has never been arrested.
Why he wasn't chosen: Extremely polarizing figure throughout the league and even among Ottawa fans; won few supporters with his “royal rumble for captain” proposal; keeps leaving his dental bridge in the team kitchen refrigerator.
Why he could have been captain: The team’s most talented player; signed through 2019; has demonstrated captain-level confidence by wearing jorts all summer.
Why he wasn't chosen: Still only 23 years old; refuses to shave his mustache despite two team interventions; a Swede, and therefore cannot be trusted.
Why he could have been captain: Fan favourite, especially after a rock-solid first season with the team; born and raised in Ottawa, and dreamed of playing for the Senators since childhood; has demonstrated persistence and grace under pressure his whole life by politely correcting people about the pronunciation of his last name.
Why he wasn't chosen: Has only been with the team for one year; spent the entire captaincy interview giving out Twitter favs; concerns that he will eventually develop serious circulation problems from tight off-ice pants.
Why he could have been captain: Talented scorer who’s found a home in Ottawa after a tumultuous tour in Phoenix; demonstrated a commitment to the team by signing through 2018; generous teammate who always finds time to spot in the weight room, even if it means he never hits the bench himself.
Why he wasn't chosen: Still only 24; has helmet hair even when not wearing a helmet; concerns that naming him captain would only remind wistful Sens fans how hunky David Rundblad was.
Why he could have been captain: Perhaps the team’s most talented pure scorer; brought in on the same day Daniel Alfredsson left, and thus a natural replacement; tested off the charts on team’s Beauty Index™.
Why he wasn't chosen: Hasn’t yet played a game for the team; came in so hot he set fire to a small envelope on Eugene Melynk’s desk marked “profits”; still thinks teammates are joking when they tell him he should buy a set of snow tires.
Why he could have been captain: Dressing room favourite; warrior who’s not afraid to fight anyone on behalf of the team; best retweets-to-goals ratio in the NHL.
Why he wasn't chosen: Would be extremely unconventional to name a fighter as team captain; once told Chris Neil, “I wish I was a natural scorer like you”; keeps calling his fists “Henley” and “Frey”.
Why he could have been captain: First-round draft pick; press box stalwart; future Masterson candidate.
Why he wasn't chosen: Regular healthy scratch; has let his Twitter account go since taking over from Matt Kassian; being outdressed by Marc Methot.
Why he could have been captain: Tough American college player who has grinded his way up through the Senators system; possession superstar; team leader for “largest forehead”.
Why he wasn't chosen: Young and still a role player; hard to justify making him captain without relying on #fancystats; could alienate working-class fans as a “one percenter”, that being his career shooting percentage.
Why he could have been captain: The team's goaltender of the future; 1% body fat; considers whatever arguments can be made against Anderson being named captain, and then stares them into submission.
Why he wasn't chosen: Still technically a backup goaltender; still technically a goaltender; still technically a psychopath.
Why he could have been captain: First-round pick and potential future franchise player; countryman and draft-class partner Gabriel Landeskog set the precedent for being named captain at such an early age; brings a physicality to DJing that’s tough to match.
Why he wasn't chosen: Largely unproven in the NHL to date; his place in the lineup is still up in the air; doesn’t need to be named captain until it looks like Sean Couturier is close to being named one.
Why he could have been captain: Extremely talented scorer who’s salvaged the otherwise-disastrous Dany Heatley deal; overcome adversity by playing through countless lower-body injuries; ready to prove his doubters wrong this season after travelling to Germany to replace his knees with more efficient, diesel-powered models.
Why he wasn't chosen: Constantly injured; repeatedly injured; injury-prone.
Why he could have been captain: First-round draft pick being groomed as the team's shutdown defenceman of the future; physical specimen who can stop opposing teams by himself; good feelings all around as the team's final RFA to reach a deal, re-signing for four years.
Why he wasn't chosen: Rumours that signing was delayed not because of money, but by his insistence that teammates stop making Seinfeld jokes; post-game black turtleneck/acid-washed jeans/white sneakers combo is SO 90s; playoff beard makes everyone feel guilty about Guantanamo Bay.
Why he could have been captain: LOL, just kidding.