Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Do We Sew the 'C' Onto the Czar's Uniform?

Knobler with a fine article about the possibility of Anderson declaring Kovy the captain, and the reasons that hasn't happened just yet.

Even more telling is a quotation from Anderson that Knobler couldn't quite work into his article but shares on his blog:

“Ilya is inherently shy,” Anderson said. “He almost gets embarrassed with success, embarrassed with greatness. I think he has a big ego, because you have to have an ego to score that many goals, but he doesn’t want to convey that to everybody. I think he has a shyness, a humbleness inside him. He has a humbleness that’s refreshing, but it somehow inhibits him a little bit from stepping out beyond the norm.”

I think that's the heart of the matter. Everyone who's really, really good at something--like Kovy--has a big ego. That doesn't mean than that a big ego and humility can't co-exist in the same person, though. The Czar has massive self-belief, and that's where his emotional intensity on the ice comes from: his palpable frustration when he misses the net or screws up a play, his jubilation when he scores a goal. The intensity, of course, leads to the cliches about him being a selfish and showboating player. He is a great showman at times, no doubt, but I don't think anyone who actually pays attention to his play could judge him a selfish player.

He's also a naturally introverted and somewhat shy person, and doesn't want to be seen as somehow "above" his teammates off the ice. But as the Grand Mongoose says:

“I don’t want to push him over the edge with it, but as a team leader you have to have that ability to step out and say, OK, here we are, and what is it that I need to do, and what is it that I need to say and know how to say it,” Anderson said.

It's becoming clear that the main reason the Thrashers don't have an official captain is because everyone is waiting for Kovy himself to assume his throne. He needs to make it clear that 1) he's ready to lead, and 2) he wants to stay in Atlanta. It's possible we won't know how he feels about either of those things for a while, of course. In the meantime the Thrashers just need to do that thing where they win several games.


Razor Catch Prey said...

Good points, but you can also be a quiet leader and still be an excellent captain. Look at Sakic and that other guy who wore #19 for that team in Michigan. Both quiet players who lead by example on the ice, and both long time effective captains.

I think that only works if you have alternate captains who will speak up in the locker room. Detroit and Colorado both have had their share of those in their successful years. Forsberg, Deadmarsh, Lemieux, and Drury for the Avs; Beelzebub, Hitler, Hillary Clinton, and Stalin for the Red Wings.

Razor Catch Prey said...

Hit 'submit' too soon there.

The Czar would have Army, Hainsey, and Moose to speak up in the locker room and let him captain the team by example on the ice. A lot was said just prior to the season about the importance of your goalie being a virtual captain. They don't need the additional pressure of actually wearing the C like Luongo, but they need to be comfortable being a leader like Ryan Miller, Brodeur, Lundqvist, and Nabby are. Moose is obviously the heart of the team right now, but it would help tremendously if Kari could mature and grow into that kind of role as well.