Since 1986, the Red Wings have only seen two men wear the 'C' in Detroit. The Captain passed the torch to The Perfect Human. Now Lidstrom has retired and the torch will be handed off to the next leader of Hockeytown.
Who will be the next man to wear the 'C'? Well, the list candidates isn't very long.
Datsyuk most likely won't be named captain, but should at least receive some consideration based on his position on the team. He's not the best English speaker and doesn't really enjoy the spotlight. Datsyuk simply does his thing on the ice and he does it well. He's not going to give a fiery speech and be a "rah rah" type of leader, but he would lead quietly and by example. The previous two captains were also both quiet guys and led by example too, but while I don't think wearing the 'C' would be a burden for Datsyuk -- he could handle it -- it might not be a position that he actually wants to have. He fits well in his role as alternate captain.
Zetterberg is the odds on favorite to take over as captain. He's been pegged as the future leader of this team for a long time now. He leads the way on and off the ice. He's respected by his teammates and players around the league too. Hank fits the mold of previous captains. Plus, with his extremely long contract, he won't be leaving Detroit for a long time. It would continue the model of steady, consistent leadership in the Red Wings organization.
Kronwall is a little bit of a dark horse candidate. Until recently, I was all for Zetterberg wearing the 'C', but I think a guy like Kronwall could do a lot of good. He fits the previously mentioned mold of being a leader on and off the ice and now he's got the contract to keep him around for the rest of his career too. Kronner is a little more vocal than Hank. He doesn't mind having the attention on him either. Can you imagine the captain of the Red Wings laying down a huge hit to change the momentum of a game and getting his team fired up? Kronwall has really developed as a leader on the team the last few years and he appears to be a guy that is very respected in the dressing room.
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I imagine we'll find out shortly who the next captain will be. Training camps are rumored to begin later this week and I don't think this is an issue that the Red Wings will want to linger around the team. They'll make a decision, name the captain and move forward. Personally, you can't wrong with any of the three. It will most likely be Zetterberg, but don't sleep on Kronwall. And who knows, maybe it will be someone we don't expect and a dark horse candidate is out there.
Who do you think should wear the 'C' for the Red Wings?