How Devils gamers are approaching leadership roles without a team captain
When the group skated onto the ice behind Mackenzie Blackwood for their first game of the season, no gamer donning a C on his jersey followed the goalie.
Brand-new head coach Lindy Ruff didn’t name a brand-new captain throughout the preseason, and for the time being, the Devils will continue to play without one.
” It is something that we have actually gone over, however it is something that, today, we’re going to wait on,” Ruff said.
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Playing without a captain isn’t unusual in the NHL. The Rangers and Ottawa Senators do not have one today, either. The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t play with one in 2018-19 prior to naming John Tavares to the function last season.
However, it’s quite rare for the Devils. Considering that relocating to New Jersey in 1982, the team played just the 2005-06 season without a captain, though they did finish the 2019-20 season without one following Andy Greene’s trade to the New York Islanders.
That could alter in the coming weeks and months and Ruff finds out more about his players. For now, the Devils are utilizing three alternative captains. Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri and Damon Severson each used an A in the group’s season-opening loss to the Boston Bruins.
Zajac has been an alternate captain because the 2013-14 season, and as the longest-tenured Devil, he’s an established leader within the locker space.
But even with nobody using the C in front of him, Zajac said he hasn’t changed the way he approaches things.
” We have actually got a young group, but we have actually got people who have been leaders on other teams who have actually come in,” Zajac stated. “We have young guys who have come in, taking a new role and stepping up. You take a look at Sevey, and Jack (Hughes) remains in his second year.
” My technique doesn’t truly change. You need to be comfy of who you are. I know who I am on the ice and off the ice, and simply attempt lead by example. If there’s something that requires to be said, you say it. But for one of the most part, we’ve got a terrific group.”
Palmieri has actually likewise acted as an alternate captain in recent seasons, so the role isn’t new to him, either. Nico Hischier wore an A for parts of the past 2 seasons, and he’ll likely be a candidate to do so again– if not more– when he returns from injury.
With one alternate captain role left to fill in Hischier’s lack, Severson used a letter in the NHL for the very first time in Thursday’s season opener. He stated Ruff approached him in the locker space prior to the start of the season and informed him he would get the chance to wear an A.
While Severson is still just 26 years of ages, he’s the second-longest tenured Devil behind Zajac, so couple of gamers understand the locker space better than him.
” It’s certainly a big honor. It’s a big deal. I take a lot of responsibility for that, and I’m exited to be using an A,” Severson stated. “It was cool, simply that Lindy had such a table talk with me and mentioned it. It wasn’t in front of the group, it was simply him and I in the middle of the room … Clearly I was extremely excited, and hopefully going forward here, I can be a good leader for the team.”
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