By J. Earle
Let me begin by saying I love Chris Drury. Ignoring his cap hit, he is a great role model and seasoned professional who would benefit any team in the league, including the Rangers.
If the Rangers were to win the cup this year, there is no doubt in my mind that Drury would limp to the podium, bleeding from somewhere, with a partially dislocated shoulder and a broken hand to receive the trophy on behalf of his team. It would be a beautiful and inspiring site to see the captain smile through his pain.
This image of a battered leader, reminiscent of Lord Nelson dying at the moment he hears of his victory over Napoleon, is fine for most cities…. But this is New York.
New York does not like to see its leader looking defeated at the moment of victory. New York does not want to simply out last its opponents in order to be victorious; it wants to beat them.
In New York we prefer Napoleon to Nelson. We need Joe Namath, George Steinbrenner and the great Mark Messier to speak about the championship as if it’s already ours. If any other team is drinking champagne from Lord Stanley’s cup in June, it is a direct insult to us, and we need a captain who makes us feel that way.
Currently, the closest thing the Rangers have to that player is the King. No matter how bad things are, Hank makes us feel like we can win, not simply endure.
Lundqvist cannot only contain Ovechkin; he can out play him. That’s what we need in a captain.
Unfortunately, he cannot be our captain, but we can hope that he can inspire young Ryan McDonough or Derek Stepan to take up that role in the years to come.