Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Head coach Travis Green made an official announcement on Tuesday, making it clear that the Canucks will have a captain for their 50th Anniversary season after foregoing a captain last year.
“The announcement I have today is that we are going to name Captain this season,” said Green on Tuesday. “We put a lot of thought into it. We don't take it lightly. We think that it's the right time for our organization, and the right time for the person we're going to name.”
“We think it's a special moment,” he continued, “and something that our fans should be able to witness firsthand...We’re going to make the announcement on our first home game Wednesday night.”
That makes a lot of sense. The last time the Canucks named a captain, they made a ceremony out of it for the 40th Anniversary Season, nine years ago. Don’t think too much about the math that gets you to 50 for this season, for the moment.
Henrik Sedin was wearing a jersey with an A on it as one of the alternate captains, but Orland Kurtenbach stood at centre ice with a fresh jersey for him with the captain’s C emblazoned on the left breast. It was a great moment as the crowd cheered and roared for their new captain.
It’s easy to picture a similar ceremony taking place next week, perhaps with as many former captains as the Canucks can bring to the arena. Instead of Kurtenbach passing the jersey to the new captain, it can be Henrik himself, a figurative passing of the torch to the next generation.
The question remains: who will be named captain?
The most obvious choice is Bo Horvat, who has been speculated as the next captain of the team practically since he was drafted. Horvat has the right mental makeup, the respect of everyone in the Canucks’ locker room, and a good rapport with the media, an underappreciated part of the job of being captain.
The captain has to be the go-to guy in the room after every game, win or lose, something that Horvat himself said he learned from watching the Sedins. It was a role Horvat took up last season when the Canucks didn’t have a captain.
There has been some speculation, however, that the Canucks could name someone else captain. Fans have floated Brock Boeser as an option, while others have satirically suggested Tim Schaller, after the veteran fourth-liner surprisingly made the Canucks out of camp.
The most common alternative to Horvat, however, has been Elias Pettersson, whose rookie season took the league and the Canucks’ fanbase by storm. Pettersson is the best player on the Canucks, and there are some schools of thought that suggest your best player should be your captain. He’s also leads by example on and off the ice with his attention to detail and intense work ethic.
A post from the Canucks’ Twitter account fueled more speculation. They announced the four players that will be wearing the “A” on their jerseys as alternate captains this season: Chris Tanev, Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter, and Bo Horvat.
If Horvat is going to wear an A, the theory goes, then surely someone not named in that tweet will be wearing the C, right?
Instead, I think it’s clear that the four players named are the ones that will be wearing letters on their jerseys and one of them will be named captain. Since they’re unlikely to make a veteran captain that might be gone from the team in a couple years, that leaves Horvat.
That doesn’t mean Pettersson isn’t a leader on the Canucks or that he won’t wear a letter in the future. It would arguably be too soon to name him captain in just his second season in the league and it would potentially put pressure on Pettersson when he needs to keep his focus on avoiding a sophomore slump and putting up points.
“I'm not going to put more expectations on Petey than he already has. He's got a lot of expectations of himself,” said Green. “He looks good and he looks stronger. I think he's ready to have a better year, but better can come in a number of ways, and I don't need to stand up here and put any more expectations or load on his shoulders.”
All signs point to Horvat being named captain next Wednesday, exchanging the A for a C in a centre-ice ceremony, just like Henrik Sedin nine years ago.