In addition to the question of which of the 30 players in this dressing room are actually going to be on the team, one other burning question remains as the regular season starts and it isn't "Will Mathieu Roy ever walk again?" Rather, Who is going to take over for Jason "Once more up the boards, dear friends" Smith as the Oilers captain. There have been rumors of rotating C's, of a solid C but rotating A's, and a strong possibility of just giving everyone HJ's. Let's have a look at the merits and... demerits(?) of each potential successor to that hallowed throne. Well, as hallowed as a throne can be after the handoff from MacT to Kelly "Sloth from Goonies" Buchberger....
1. Ethan Moreau - "Chopper" is the current leading contender. The fact that half the team followed him to his brother's training facilities for the entire summer certainly indicates that he is a) extremely fit and b) already a leader of sorts. Take a look at how many teeth he's missing and you'll realize he's either willing to lay it out for the team or just really bad at avoiding solid objects travelling mouthward. Also, a number of Oilers players have indicated that the loss of Monsieur Moreau was a much bigger blow to the team than most figured. According to Dwayne Roloson (that's the first player name I've used without a nickname in there, pats on the back), he's the heart and soul of the team. In fact, our #1 netminder has publicly backed him for the C, which puts the coaching staff in a bit of a tough spot since Roli's old enough to be their father. The main downfall of Moreau's bid? There are a few, first, he isn't making the money that some of the other candidates are and as I've said before, in this league money is talking more and more. Second, he seems to be suffering from that Samuel L Jackson disease in Unbreakable. I'd add here that he doesn't seem to be much of a "personality" guy but to be honest I don't know that for sure and also, Gator was about as interesting as the LA v Anaheim season opener in London.
Shawn Horcoff - This little fella is getting paid the big bucks, has earned tons of respect from MacT for earning a 1st line center spot through sheer hard work alone (it certainly wasn't talent) and for developing the way MacT likes, through the ole defensive forward route. He had a bad season last year but who didn't? He's a vocal guy and is good with the media. He seems like someone who has a lot of internal struggles as a player which I think is as a result of his throwing away his initial playing style, becoming a strong defensive player, and then being asked to be a first line points contributer. Basically he's schizo. The knocks against him as I see it? First, he looks like Tweeg from Teddy Ruxpin. Second, he's a really inconsistent player, which makes it much tougher to set a consistent lead. At least Jason Smith was a steady bad 90% of the time. Thirdsies, the team may look at him as MacT's boy a little bit.
Jarret Stoll - He's young and skilled to the max. Don't let the fact that he's not so great in NHL 08 fool ya, he was the Oilers best all around player last year prior to being go-tarded in his brains. He's the prototype of the new look Oiler, remember before when "Speed Kills" was the team motto? Yeah, well look where we got with Marchant and Chimera as the poster boys. With Stoll you get a young, solid two way forward who can actually put the puck in the net and who thinks the game perfectly. MacT is always on his players about thinking the game, and it seems to have gotten through to young Stolly. The knocks against him? His age is the number one reason he won't be picked. I like him for getting an A, because it shows the young players what they can earn if they work hard enough, but he's not getting a C over Horc or Moreau or other Oiler lifers. Not yet anywho. Also, he looks sorta like a vampire.
Ales Hemsky - Oh c'mon. I think people who say he should get the C to spur him into a leadership type role are the same people who have a baby to save a marriage. And nine times out of ten THAT idea is just about having unprotected sex before you break up. So basically, go ahead, give him the C if you want to have unprotected sex with Hemmer so bad. Wait. I think I've lost the thread here. The point being, he's not a leader, we all know he's not a leader. Don't weigh him down with a letter, it'll just hinder his passing. People have to realize that "Leader" and "Points Leader" are NOT the same thing. Though they can be. If you're Mark Messier.
Finally, Steve Staios - A fine candidate I suppose. He certainly gives it his all, he even has flashes of offensive prowess. Remember those two goals he scored that one time? Okay, me neither, but his stats say he's done it, so there's that. Again, not a personality guy with the media, but MacT is enough personality in interviews for everyone. He's been around a long time, and was even a Captain already in Atlanta. Admittedly, he was a captain who has been picked off waivers, unprotected in an expansion draft, and then either left unsigned by the team he was captaining or felt that his leadership had done enough in Atlanta, abandoning his teammates for more money. I don't feel Staios is a representative of the current Oilers. He's a solid defenceman who makes a little too much dough in my estimation, but he's not the face of the Oil.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Ryan Smyth - A darkhorse candidate considering he's no longer with the team, he still qualifies as the team captain leftover from last year.
So that's it I think, cast your ballots via the comments section below. Personally, I'd like to add Roli to the mix just because he's had more conversations with the refs than their wives have and because he's always on the ice, so what an advantage! To me, I go Moreau for Captain, with Stoll and Horc getting the A's, though I'm pretty sure Staios will get Stoll's. Boo.