So this is my very first fan post...most of you would recognize my username here as I have posted on BSH for a while now. As I was sitting in the glorious and seemingly never ending traffic that parks itself on the poorly named Schuylkill Expressway I had a thought....now that our beloved Simon Gagne has been traded away to the Tampa Bay Lightning we have an opening for an Alternate sometimes referred to as Assistant Captain. Assuming everyone who had a letter on their uniform remains the same we are looking at Richie returning as Captain with Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter being the Alternate Captains on the road and Kimmo Timonen presently the only Alternate Captain at home.
So now that we have established who already has a letter, what are our options, who is deserving, who might be considered? Well for me, as someone who played hockey for a significant part of my life and was fortunate enough to earn a letter on my jersey, I look at three important factors whens determining if someone is deserving of a letter...Does the player have the respect of his teammates(is he someone others will listen to) Does the player give 100% effort all the time?(On the ice and during practices) and lastly, does the player get significant time on the ice during the game so that they may serve the role of a on ice leader?(chatting with the refs etc)
When I break it down, and analyze the above criteria through watching games, attending practices, reading things in the media I have come up with three names. Two of which would not surprise anyone and one that might.
Option One: Danny Briere
Although Briere has in my opinion had two less than stellar seasons for the Orange and Black bookending an injury filled 2008-2009, Briere has proven time and time again that when the second season starts and every game counts, you can count on the guy to play bigger than his 5 foot 10 inch and 179 lb body. Briere will go into the corners to battle guys for pucks. Danny will throw his body around every so often just to let people know he is there. He is the text book definition of a little man with a big guy complex but again, when it really matters, #48 shows up. Briere was a Co-Captain along with now NY Ranger Chris Drury and helped lead the Buffalo Sabres to their franchise's best regular season points total during the 2006-2007 season. Briere also lead the team in points with 95.(Side note: Briere had one amazing season and that lead Homer to stupidly give Danny a albatross of a contract, but that's a topic for another day) Danny was an Alternate Captain for the Flyers before last season and so bestowing that distinction to him again would probably be the safest choice. Danny is certainly a leader in the locker room and someone well respected by his team mates as well as the media. I have yet to run into anyone who did not have glowing things to say about Danny's action both on and especially off the ice.
Option Two: Ian Laperriere
I probably don't have to really state the case for Lappy but I will anyway. Words like effort, heart and soul are some of the first and probably easiest words one could use to describe Ian Laperriere. Here is a word you wouldn't use to describe Laperriere, flashy. In fact, Laperriere is probably the antithesis of flashy. Lappy isn't going to add much to your team offensively. His career high in goals is 21, which, if you look at his career is more of a fluke than anything else. His next highest goal total is 10. Lappy has scored double digit goals twice in 13 full seasons(I considered a full season to be 60 games or more) What Laperriere doesn't give you in goals he gives you in effort, he gives you in blocked shots and he gives you in his own blood. I think it's safe to say that no player on the Flyers was more beloved by the Flyers faithful than Ian Laperriere. Lappy doesn't play big time minutes, that's to be expected when you are on the fourth line but Lappy's value as a penalty killer is sky high. Lappy's heart and soul are immeasurable, whether he is dropping his gloves to send a message to the other team, or to wake up his own team from one of their effortless starts, or when he is standing in the tunnel waiving to a sold out Wachovia(now Wells Fargo) Center crowd as they show their appreciation for the man who lays it all on the line, risking life and limb for his team. The easiest thing to say about Laperriere is that he get's it. He is every bit the work horse athlete that this city loves. Like Briere, Laperriere is a well respected veteran among his team mates and around the league. Laperriere wore the A during part of his time in Colorado.
Option Three(The stretch): Claude Giroux
I'll be honest with you, this one is a bit of a stretch/pipe dream of mine. Claude Giroux the little man who also plays big has done little to earn the letter on his jersey, unless you consider consumption of grilled cheese prior to each game as well as Giroux's overall awesomeness to be things worthy of rewarding someone with the responsibility of being an Alternate Captain. Now, as for the real case for Giroux, like I said, there really isn't one. Like I said, for a small guy Giroux plays big...he puts his body on the line, though certainly not to the degree of Lappy but he does his job. Does everyone remember Giroux single handedly winning a puck battle while being summarily beaten by three opponents? While Lappy isn't flashy Giroux is the very definition of the word. Claude makes passes night in and night out the seem destined for a highlight reel, he even scores some clutch goals. Giroux certainly isn't as vocal as guys like Briere and Lappy, I would imagine he is not looked at by his team mates as any sort of a leader, vocal or otherwise. I do know that his team mates love him, how could you not? While other guys prefer gourmet meals pre game, this guy man handles Grilled Cheese...I bet he even gets some stuck in his goatee, endearing him even more to his teammates. Three of this team's five players wearing a letter are what I would consider part of their youth movement, why not Giroux. He get's big minutes, he leads by example and would, in my non expert opinion embrace the added responsibility and challenge.
So, there are the options...discuss...
Authors Note: I would also appreciate any critiques you fair citizens of BSH want to give me on my first ever fan post...please be gentle...just kidding.