There was an odd answer from Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis when he was asked about the fans' opinion on the choice of Henrik Sedin as captain:
Reporter: "Judging by the fans' reaction, they approve?"
Gillis: "Well, I believe so. It doesn't matter. I approve. So, we were thrilled to have him, we were thrilled that he accepted the role, and he's going to be a great captain."
You don't often hear someone in officialdom say the customers' opinion doesn't matter. Asked to elaborate, Gillis said by e-mail: "The choice had been made based on internal criteria. After the fact approval was immaterial to the process."
Gillis is right, of course. There was never going to be a fan referendum on the captaincy. If so, centre Ryan Kesler would have been a contender -- and he wasn't.
But keep in mind, Vancouver is a market that revolted against Mark Messier when he replaced fan-favourite Trevor Linden as captain in 1997. Roberto Luongo, a goaltender who handed back the 'C' last month, was a controversial choice two years ago when Gillis and head coach Alain Vigneault went outside the box in their first joint-captain decision.
Here are some more samplings from Gillis on the Canucks' captaincy:
"I think it was obvious. Character, leadership, accomplishment, hard-working...you can go down the list of what makes a great captain."
"It starts with character. When he and Daniel made that contribution last year to children's hospital [$1.5 million] they didn't tell any of us. They just did it on their own."
"I think [the Sedin twins]exemplify what this franchise is about. They were drafted here, and been here their whole careers. They know what it's like to play here. They took less money to play here, they don't want to go anywhere else, and I think it's a tribute to them.
On the four alternate captains (Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, and Manny Malhotra)
"I think we have a lot more leadership in the room, I don't think it's isolated...he's going to get a tremendous amount of support."
"[Sedin]thought it would create some more responsibility with Kevin."
On the timing (coinciding with the season opener on Hockey Night in Canada):
"We decided a while ago, but we didn't announce it because [Saturday]was going to be such a huge night in the history of the franchise. We have limited opportunities, other than the course of a game, to make news. This was an opportunity on the national stage to show what this franchise is all about, and to honour the history."Report Typo/Error