If you think Alex Pietrangelo shouldn’t be captain of the Blues, feel free to punch yourself in the face, and then come back to read this column.
Sports fan love to complain. It’s what we do in order to make ourselves feel as if our voice is one that matters. In the end, it may be pointless, but we do it anyway. Complaining about Pietrangelo is tiring, because people isolate an incident or two to base their complaint off of, and it never makes sense.
Since the Blues are in a funk, it’s an easy gesture to blame the captain for a lack of leadership, or as a certain Japanese dude from Major League would say, “marbles”. I call bullshit, because the guy is having another very good season.
Check the stats. For the fancy stat lovers, Petro’s Corsi and Fenwick numbers are right in line with the last few seasons. For a guy who is on the ice for close to 30 minutes a game taking shifts against the other team’s top players, this is pretty damn sublime.
Look at this offensive stats, which may offend his critics and haters. Pietrangelo should finish with another 50 points, which includes 11 goals at the moment. He shoots, scores, and hasn’t softened up at either end of the ice.
With Jay Bouwmeester officially biting the dust (two months late), the onus on Pietrangelo to be his superhero self on the ice will only increase. You can call up a young Jordan Schmaltz, but don’t expect him to play high pressure and valuable minutes. Vince Dunn is as ready as any young gun on the NHL strip, but he is still learning out there. This is Petro’s team and he has to show that every night.
There were some who thought Petro should have gotten up off the ice after being pushed into the surface by Dallas Stars bastard, Jamie Benn, on Sunday. They wanted him to get off the ice, ala David Backes back in the day, and challenge Benn to a fight. This was during a close game which meant everything to the Blues.
If I were Benn, I’d gladly accept the invitation, and exchange sissy jabs for a few minutes before the refs broke them up. Benn and Ken Hitchcock would love for the other team’s top defenseman to be out for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES IN A CLOSE AND MEANINGFUL GAME!
Please, refer yourself back to the front of your fist if you think this, because it’s dumb talk.
It was Backes himself who recommended Pietrangelo for the C in the first place. There’s a time and place to drop the gloves, but most of the time, it’s best not to. It’s one of Petro’s better qualities. He only averages 0.32 penalty minutes per game, which is nice when you are counted on for big minutes every game. Let Chris “Not” Thor-burn wrestle with another guy for couple minutes.
Vladimir Tarasenko is gifted physically with the hockey gods and says all the right things to fans, but he isn’t a captain. Brayden Schenn is a fine young player, but he’s been here half a season, and people want to hand him the C. Come on. Alex Steen wasn’t given the patch at the time because he wasn’t seen as the future of this team. Pietrangelo is.
For those who don’t think Petro stands up for his teammates, who was it slamming the fans for their Bronx cheers towards Jake Allen? The captain was speaking. While I don’t agree with him, I can respect him sticking up for his embattled goaltender. It’s what captains and leaders do in a time of need.
People want someone to be vocal right now. Let me ask you something: vocal how? Do you want Petro to throw a couple teammates under the bus? “It’d be nice to Berglund didn’t skate around like a fluffy bearded ballerina on the power play.” If Petro said that, would it be better?
The right leaders don’t air dirty team laundry to the media; they keep that shit in-house, dealing with it there. If you read about Pietrangelo going on about a teammate, he’d be ridiculed. Simple as that.
Being the captain of a hockey team isn’t about goals and assists. It’s deeper than that. The ideals and values that make a guy wear the C fall on what he does behind the scenes, on the ice, and in a time of need. Alex Pietrangelo is doing all of that during a tough, transitional season.
Let’s stop complaining about him. It’s useless. Look at some of the other veterans on this team to play louder instead of talking big game. Keep an eye on the rookies. Let Mike Yeo mold this team into what he needs in order to be successful (he’s only been head coach for 13 months).
It’s okay to be critical of Pietrangelo’s play during a game, but calling for him to lose his the captaincy is another building of WTF. Even the fans who are unsure about Petro’s candidacy call him one of the best defensemen this team has ever had.
Just face it. Petro is the guy and for good reason. The players and coaches support him. The fans, all of them, should follow suit.
Thanks for reading and always buy more bourbon.