Ottawa Senators players may have an opinion on who their next captain should be, but Paul MacLean won’t be putting the decision to a locker room vote.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since Daniel Alfredsson decided to sign with the Detroit Red Wings, the Senators head coach says he has started the process of selecting the next captain, but hasn’t come close to making a decision just yet.
“I don’t think we’ll ask the players to vote. We are going to talk to a number of players who are in consideration,” MacLean said Friday afternoon. “There are a lot of different players who people believe are qualified to be the next captain of the Senators. And I believe the same thing, so the process that Bryan (Murray) and I and my coaching staff have to go through is sifting through it and finding who is the best guy to represent the whole group.”
MacLean indicated that he’s not putting a firm timeline on making a decision on a new captain. Training camp for the club opens in less than two weeks, but MacLean did not seem pressured to name a new captain by a certain date.
"We're going to go through a process. I have to spend some time talking to the individuals, talking to (general manager) Bryan Murray, talking to my coaching staff," MacLean said. "We've done a lot of preliminary talk with it, but it's going to be a process. I don't think it's going to be a difficult one and we just have to take the time and get through it."
It's believed that long time alternate captains Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza are the front runners to inherit the captaincy from Alfredsson. The head coach believes that whoever doesn't end up wearing the "C" on his sweater will still carry a significant responsibility inside the dressing room.
"We have a lot of confidence in the leadership group we have left and that one of them -- and it's not going to be one guy step up -- but one of them is going to represent as Daniel did with the captaincy," said MacLean. "But leadership isn't a one person thing or a three person thing -- it's an everybody thing. With me, it's everybody. That's still going to be the expectation -- that everybody is expected to come to the rink everyday and provide leadership."
MacLean also made his first public comments about Alfredsson's surprising departure in early July. The reigning Jack Adams Award winner said he holds no hard feelings towards his former captain, who shocked the hockey world by signing a one-year contract with the Red Wings.
"I was disappointed like everybody. But at the same time, Daniel's earned the right to make that decision," MacLean explained. "He's made it and moved on and we're moving on and we're going to progess without him and start down a new path. It's a great opportunity for a number of our players to step into that leadership void and show they can be a bigger part of the team than they've been in the past."