Former coach reveals why Crosby first refused captaincy

Should other players follow his lead?

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A few National Hockey League teams do not have a captain. For example, the Vegas Golden Knights pride themselves in having 23 captains. No letter on a jersey needed. The Toronto Maple Leafs are waiting to make an announcement on who will be the franchise’s next captain… Same for the Montreal Canadiens, who just traded theirs to Vegas… 

When choosing your captain, some leadership qualities are needed no doubt. So why would a natural born leader refuse the captaincy more than once when it is first offered to him? Former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Michel Therrien revealed on Wednesday on the air of Montreal 91,9 Sports, what happened when Crosby refused to wear the C back in 2007. 

Back when Crosby was 18 and Therrien believed he would named captain, Crosby told him he needed two things before he could wear the C on his jersey. It wasn’t about age: he wanted to gain the respect of his teammates and respect across the entire NHL. The following year, he became the youngest player to win the NHL scoring title. 

When he accepted the role, he became the youngest captain in the NHL at the time. Crosby did not accept the captaincy when former GM Ray Shero first offered it to him in January 2007, which was about a year after the idea was mentioned to him by Therrien after captain/co-owner Mario Lemieux retired.

“I thought I needed some time to grow a little bit more,” Crosby said to about the day Lemieux presented him with a jersey with the captain’s ‘C’ stitched on it. “I couldn’t be in a better situation than what the team has with a mix of young guys and older guys.

“We talked about it probably midway through last year. I just thought it wasn’t the right time. We were playing great. You don’t want to disrupt that and I felt I wasn’t ready to accept that responsibility quite yet.”

Since then, other younger captains like Connor McDavid and Gabriel Landeskog have been named, but one thing is sure, you don’t hear a lot of players refusing captaincy… 

Should other players follow his lead, like let’s say Auston Matthews for the Leafs or Brendan Gallagher for the Habs? As a matter of fact, Therrien, the former Habs head coach, believes that it should be veteran defenseman Shea Weber to be named captain of the Canadiens. 

Do you agree?