Make no mistake about it, Brad Richards has become the de facto captain of the Rangers this postseason, but it’s Ryan McDonagh who is setting himself up for a permanent captaincy position.
He’s become a leader on and off the ice and is making a huge impression on his teammates…
“His attitude is like a captain,” Derick Brassard said of McDonagh recently.
And if you don’t believe Brassard or myself, one just has to look at how McDonagh reacted to Dan Girardi’s Game 1 deciding gaffe.
Immediately after the game, McDonagh sat down with Girardi to discuss the unfortunate play (via Blueshirts United)…
“I talked to him about the play right away. That’s how we work through things as a group. Me and him are a pretty talkative pairing. No matter what happens–good play, bad play–we are talking about it and try and make sure we’re on the same page.”
Then when facing the media after the game, McDonagh deflected the blame onto himself…
“In those situations, especially at that point of the game, we’ve got to understand that when a guy is in trouble, maybe it’s not the right time to leave the zone. I was one of those guys that left the zone, anticipating a play that we were going to get it out.”
He then discussed his own postseason failure including his delay of game penalty in overtime of Game 2 against the Capitals last season that led to Mike Green’s game winner.
…accountability, communication and defending a teammate? Sounds like captain material to me.
…having said that, I truly believe if Richards is retained this offseason, he’ll be named captain. Deservedly so. The leader of an NHL team needs to be a general, not the best player on the team. And that’s what Richards is. I also wouldn’t be shocked if there was a shake-up with the alternate captains and McDonagh ended up with an ‘A’ on his sweater. Which would set a path for him to eventually take over as the leader of the Rangers.
…if Richards is amnestied, McDonagh would be the guy for me. Yes, St. Louis brings a lot more emotion than the 24-year old defenseman, but I doubt AV wants to hand the reigns over to a guy who might only be in a blueshirt for one more season. As the current Rangers have proved, a player doesn’t need a letter to be a leader, but if AV does approve the stitching of a ‘C’ on McDonagh’s chest, I would like to see St. Louis and his passion also named an alternate. While I appreciate everything Staal and Girardi bring to the table in the locker room, a leadership of that duo plus McD would be void of the vigor that’s sometimes needed.