Bill Guerin, signed as a free agent just last Thursday, has apparently been named the new captain of the New York Islanders this afternoon. The team's Web site streamed its press conference introducing free-agent acquisitions Guerin and Mike Comrie; Islanders Army has what appears to be a screenshot from Isles TV that shows Guerin wearing the 'C.' Frank over at Battle of NY saw the same thing, and said the captaincy may have been "a surprise to [Guerin] as well."
The title "captain" doesn't exactly spring to mind when discussing Billy Guerin; I'd rank it well behind "mercenary" and "postseason ghost." I imagine this move will be met with some ridicule from the same people who still laugh at jokes about 15-year contracts and back-up goaltenders suddenly being promoted to the general manager's office (you know ... people like me). But looking at this logically, it's an obvious and potentially positive move:
- One glance at the Islanders' roster, and it starts to make sense why a guy who joined the team last week is now its captain. Mike Sillinger, an alternate last year, was one option; Brendan Witt also wore the 'A' last season, but spends more time in the sin bin than authoring inspiring locker room speeches. Guerin's an emotional veteran with his name on the Stanley Cup; someone who might be able to lead by words or example.
- Long Island is going to be like Washington, DC: It doesn't really matter who wears the 'C' because the goalie, Rick DiPietro, is the leader of this team anyway. For the next 13 years...
- It's been a while since the chain of command that was Ed Westfall (1972-77), Clark Gillies (1977-79), Denis Potvin (1979-87), Brent Sutter (1987-91) and Patrick Flatley (1991-96). Alexei Yashin was the last Islanders' captain -- the bar is set nice and low, Billy.
Previously on NHL FanHouse:
Isles Sign Guerin and Comrie
Bill Guerin Now Officially a Bloody Mess
Bill Guerin: An Expensive Piece of Playoff Furniture