Earlier this week it was reported from Wanye Gretz that Sam Gagner would be named the next captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Since that report, numerous sites have dedicated their time and energy (including this one) to dissect the rumor on whether it would be the right choice for the Oilers.
According to Oilers President Kevin Lowe, who appeared on Oilers Now on Thursday, the rumors are just that – rumors. Lowe said they are premature and that the decision on who will wear the ‘C’ is up to newly appointed head coach Dallas Eakins. Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal, via Twitter, tweeted the update from Lowe and said that Eakins has not had the chance to make any decisions on who the next captain will be.
Hearing Eakins thought pattern makes perfect sense. Why rush into making a decision when the new head coach hasn’t had his full team together to observe how the players interact, who takes charge and who would make a great captain. It would be a rushed decision for Eakins to appoint Gagner or any other player for that matter as the captain before training camp began.
If you recall Eakins press conference he was adamant that every player must show up to play every night and do so with a competitive edge. Not saying that Gagner won’t deliver on that front, but Eakins will want to be sure that who ever is named the team’s 14th captain in franchise history is absolutely the right choice.
Sure Eakins could base his decision from the input of guys like Lowe and MacTavish. That would be a rushed and foolish move given neither of those guys are around the players as much as the head coach will be.
Rumors are sure to be plentiful between now and October 1st on who will be named the next captain. It wouldn’t surprise me if Eakins waited until after the exhibition games or even after the first month of the season before making his decision. It’s not one that should be made lightly and judging by the work ethic that Eakins brings to the table and sole focus on the task at hand, this decision will be well thought out before coming to a conclusion. Meaning Oilers’ fans may have plenty of time to stir up crazy rumors that get everyone excited, when there isn’t much else happening around the game of hockey at the moment.