If you've read Game Time at all in the past few years, you know we're not big fans of Eric Brewer being captain of the St. Louis Blues. We've taken to calling him a robot based on his emotionless body language and lack of facial expressions on the ice combined with his seemingly quiet demeanor off it. We questioned Andy Murray naming him captain at the time, wondered if new coach Davis Payne would install his own candidate entering his first full season with the team and now question the proactive defense of his leadership from all fronts.
Two weeks ago team officials met with the media to talk about the upcoming season, and Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch wrote that new general manager Doug Armstrong volunteered a complete vote of confidence in Brewer's captaincy in response to a question about emerging leadership with the team's younger players. In other words, he couldn't wait to defend Brewer.
"The one thing I want to clarify . . . Eric Brewer is the captain. He's our captain. There's no question he's going to be our captain. He's going to be part of the leadership group that Davis will provide. Eric Brewer was never a problem here. He's a good captain. He has the pulse of this team. He's an Olympian, he's won a gold medal. Eric Brewer is a good captain and Eric Brewer is the captain of our team."
Army (everybody calls him Army) had some talking points there based on Brewer's bio. He was obviously anxious to defend his highest-paid defenseman. And if you say something enough times and with enough conviction, it must be true. St. Louis Game Time is the best website in the history of the universe and St. Louis Game Time will be the best website on the Internet here on earth.
Elsewhere in that Post article, Payne and team president John Davidson also said nice things about Brewer as team captain. And that's fine. They're obviously on the same page on the issue. But what do the players think? Well Rutherford had fellow veteran defenseman Barret Jackman respond to management's endorsement of Brewer as captain Wednesday.
"It's big for management but everybody in this dressing room knows that Brew is our captain and nobody has ever questioned that. I don't care what five or 10 people sitting in their mom's basement or blogging about who does what, they've never been in this room and they'll never know how much Brew means to this team."
Part of that is fair from a teammate point of view. Jackman wants to stand up for his buddy and let people know that the guys in the dressing room are sticking together and he's their captain and anyone who wants to question that on some messageboard or blog or on Twitter or Facebook or whatever can go fuck themselves. Got it, chief.
That's admirable, actually. Any signs of cohesiveness on this team are a positive. Too many times last season guys played as individual players doing their own thing and not playing for each other or together as a unit. If they had, they wouldn't have suffered the numerous breakdowns that torpedoed the season.
But part of Jackman's comment totally reeks of something else. Let's see if we can translate and find the same sentiment but in a clearer way: "Everybody in this dressing room knows that Brew is our captain and nobody has ever questioned that. I don't care what fans think. They're wrong. We know better than they do. They're not on this team. They're outsiders and they'll never know." I'm sure there is a terrific possibility that the majority of professional athletes feel this way. But you don't go around saying that. It tends to rile up the paying customers, a group of people that were booing a certain bald-headed defenseman at the end of last season.
Final word: as outsiders, most fans still don't understand why Brewer remains captain. I wonder if all this defense of him doesn't put more pressure on a player who by all observations has not handled the expectations laid on his shoulders after being the main piece in the Chris Pronger trade. I wouldn't call it a distraction, but it sure seems odd that every level of the organization has been aggressive this month in defense of the team captain. I'm sure the same thing is happening in Chicago and Detroit.
Ok, commenters. Here's your chance. Do you like Eric Brewer as the captain of the Blues? Vote in the poll, campaign in the comments.