Rangers Analysis: Making Richards Captain Would Be A Mistake
Ryan Callahan is the favorite to take over the captaincy from recently bought out Chris Drury, and he should take over the captaincy from Drury. But there is a lingering rumor that newly signed center Brad Richards is a viable option for the "C" because of his past relationship with head coach John Tortorella with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Andrew Gross discusses this at The Record:
Marquee free agent Brad Richards, 31, has been an alternate both with the Lightning (under Rangers coach John Tortorella) and, most recently, with the Stars. With a nine-year, $60 million deal, he’s already expected to be the Rangers’ on-ice leader both as a No. 1 center and power-play quarterback.
Callahan was the presumed successor to Drury once the season ends but after signing a three-year deal, $12.875 million deal to avoid arbitration, he is a short-timer compared to Richards and Staal, who is signed through 2014-15 at $3.975 million per.
Tortorella was asked June 30 – two days before the team signed Richards – about his selection process for the new captain.
"I think those decisions will come about come camp," Tortorella said. "We’ll have our talks, we’ll see. Maybe our team changes even more this summer, along the way."
That last sentence could be interpreted as a vote in Richards’ favor.
I've previously stated my thoughts on Richards becoming captain, but to repeat myself, it's ridiculous. And believe me, it has nothing to do with Richards himself. It's just the fact that a player should not become the captain of a storied franchise like the Rangers before playing a single game in the sweater. It's an honor thing - a respect thing. And as far as I'm concerned, that honor belongs to Ryan Callahan, who's been playing for this team and carrying them for many years before Richards was even considered to come here.
I realize that Mark Messier became the captain of the Rangers is in his first season with the club, but God, the man had five times the reputation as a leader than Richards does now. So to make that comparison is both unfair and irrelevant.
Callahan knows what it means to be a New York Ranger and he knows what it's like to lead a team with a tremendous amount of pressure from the fan base and the media. Both of those things are something Richards has yet to discover (again, not his fault), and for many reasons, giving Brad the "C" in his first season would be over the top. Not to mention the mixed messages it would send in the locker room.