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New Jersey, NJ • United States • 28 Years Old • Male

A for Effort

Posted 11:22 AM ET | Comments 6
I know that my posts are usually a bit more introspective than this one is going to be, but it's the middle of August, a period during the NHL offseason where yesterday's Evgeni Artyukin for Drew Miller trade was the top hockey story. Mid-August is when the hockey fan reaches the point where anything that even mentions the word hockey piques their interest. And so, with that in mind, I pose this question to the Devils Legion: With the departure of John Madden, who would you give the vacant 'A' to?

I want to start my answer by clarifying that Jamie Langenbrunner will retain his status as captain. Because of this, there should be no doubt from any executive, coach, player, or fan that Patrik Elias will and should keep his 'A'. I know that Jacques Lemaire and Elias were not here together for very long, but I would hope it's safe to say that Lemaire would not think about taking the letter away from the franchise's all-time leading scorer.

So with those two set, who gets Madden's 'A'? My original answer was Brian Rolston. Rolston is supposed to be one of our high profile players, and though he had a self-admitted down year, perhaps Lemaire's return will lead to a Rolston Renaissance. Rolston has called Lemaire the best coach he's ever had, and so I think it's safe to expect a good season out of Rolston. I liked my choice, until I realized that Rolston is most likely going to be playing on a line with Elias. The point behind assigning letters is to determine which players are allowed to discuss situations with the referees, therefore both Elias and Rolston having one doesn't make a lot of sense.

With that in mind, I'd like to amend my vote and give it to Paul Martin. Other than Colin White, Martin is the longest-tenured Devil defenseman, and is undoubtedly the leader of our defense corps. He has a great deal of skill, is a good leader, and at age 28, is in the prime of his career. But besides that, he's up for free agency at the end of this upcoming season. It may not seem like much, but letters are all about symbolism, and any effort, no matter how small it may seem, that will help Paul Martin decide to remain a New Jersey Devil after this season should be done in my opinion. We've lost way too many quality defensemen over the years. Keeping Johnny Oduya was a great step in the right direction, but to keep the momentum going with Paul Martin is critical.

There are a few good choices out there to take over alternate captain duties, enough that even though I'm personally against it, the Devils may end up rotating the designation. Considering the high likelihood that Rolston and Elias will spend the entire season on a line together, I stand by my decision to give the vacant 'A' to Paul Martin.
Filed Under:   new   jersey   devils   paul   martin   alternate   captain  
August 14, 2009 12:04 PM ET | Delete
I want to say Zach Parise and I'm sure he has what it takes to maintain his role and wear a letter on his jersey, but it'd obviously be appropriate to award it to someone else. I agree with giving it to Rolston and I don't think it matters much if 2 players on a line wear letters. Rolston's deserving of wearing an A and should. I agree on White and Martin too, but did you give Pandolfo a thought, even though his role has declined over the past season?
August 14, 2009 12:04 PM ET | Delete
I want to say Zach Parise and I'm sure he has what it takes to maintain his role and wear a letter on his jersey, but it'd obviously be appropriate to award it to someone else. I agree with giving it to Rolston and I don't think it matters much if 2 players on a line wear letters. Rolston's deserving of wearing an A and should. I agree on White and Martin too, but did you give Pandolfo a thought, even though his role has declined over the past season?
August 14, 2009 2:49 PM ET | Delete
Actually Pandolfo never even crossed my mind. Maybe with Madden gone he can step into a bigger role but if that doesn't happen I think he should be bought out. He may pick up the slack without Madden to cover for him, and I hope he does. But if not we need to show him the door.
August 15, 2009 10:18 AM ET | Delete
I agree. I think Lemaire will give him a shot to redeem himself, but if Pando's slacking, knowing Lemaire, he and Lou will make sure he's out of Newark or at least away from the ice. I just think his salary makes him difficult to trade.
August 15, 2009 10:40 AM ET | Delete
Yeah I agree, him and Zubrus are living proof that while Lou is easily still top 3 GMs in the league, even he can't be perfect all the time. Sometimes he gives out ridiculous contracts that put us in the hole for a while...fortunately he's also pulled some crazy magic in the past to get us out of some of those bad contracts (Mogilny) so I guess in a way he does still have it.
August 15, 2009 6:11 PM ET | Delete
I think what happened with Zubrus is Lou realized he messed up, panicked, and threw that contract at him to try and cover his mistake up. We're stuck with Zubrus for the next 4 years, unless we waive him or buy him out, and I don't think anybody saw what happened to Pando coming or Madden. Sutter's system killed those two.
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