Captaincy in Flux
Many Fans will remember the disaster of last seasons Captaincy. The old coach awarded co-captains for the season in veteran talents Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk. This decision was one that no one saw coming, and few understood. Worst then being ignorant, it threatened what Rod was trying to build in his first season as coach.
When Justin Williams returned, many fans and analysts alike had assumed who would receive that vaunted ‘C’ on their sweater. Williams was a three-time Stanley Cup Champion; he had been a part of a legendary 3-0 comeback in Los Angeles and had been a contributing factor to Carolina’s only Stanley Cup Championship.
Rod knew this. The difficult decision he faced was how to handle rescinding the captaincy from two of the team’s most necessary pieces. What Rod did, successfully giving Williams the leadership position he needed for this team to be successful, while also returning Staal and Faulk to their role as Alternates for which they seem better suited for, set the tone for the year.
Williams was not simply a success as Carolina Captain, he is on a very short list of some of the very best. This season cemented his place in that role, there isn’t even an argument, or a close second as to who would take that role. Learning from the greatest captain in Franchise history aided in establishing Williams as the face of this locker room.
If Don Waddell can convince Williams to take one more go at his fourth Stanley Cup, then this team would have addressed what was a glaring flaw from the previous regime. Even if Williams doesn’t return to Carolina, the change in culture is a sustainable one. Whoever takes over that position has learned from one of the better that this franchise has seen.