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Red Wings Name Justin Abdelkader Alternate Captain

New York Ranges v Detroit Red Wings

One of the fun debates this summer for Red Wings fans has been about what would happen to Pavel Datsyuk’s ‘A’ now that he’s left the team and the league. With Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall rocking the other two letters, it was basically down to whether they would bestow an A on Dylan Larkin so soon or give it to Justin Abdelkader. Today, on the dawn of his preseason debut, we got the obvious answer.

It’s interesting that the Wings say “assistant” instead of “alternate” (and something that is sure to piss off a lot of people who have actually read the NHL rulebook), but anymore that’s becoming more of a sweater vs. jersey debate anyway. (updated because the Wings fixed it on Twitter)

Personally, I think this is a great choice. Abdelkader spent probably the last month being the whipping boy effigy of what was wrong with Team USA’s roster construction, but in all of that criticism, and in the criticism of his contract, it’s easy to overlook that Abdelkader, with all of the intangibles that make him fit to wear the letter, is a tangibly good hockey player and has the work ethic befitting the title.