Johnny T Gets The C
After three years, seven months and 23 days to find the 25th captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the search is over. Now John Tavares deservedly dons the C, joining the celebrated Captains Club of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There was a lot of speculation surrounding this throughout the summer. But Maple Leafs management picked the perfect player, unveiling him in front of +20 000 fans right before puck drop of the season opener, but not before his newborn son broke the news to JT himself.
A special moment for the Tavares family. Doesn't matter what team you cheer for, any fan can resonate with this career milestone.
This was little Johnny (and me and every other kid) at nine years old.
This is John twenty years later.
Thankfully the Buds are blessed with a surplus of talent and leadership. There was no wrong answer out of our captaincy candidates, but there was only one right answer. JT embodies the C like no other. He's cool, calm, collected, creative, consistent and has the courage to play this role in the biggest hockey market. When he departed the NY Islanders to come back home, he never departed captain mode. Tavares got career-highs in goals and points his first season in the blue and white, all while putting his primary focus on defence. JT never thinks about JT and only thinks about winning. That's captain material.
He strongly reminds me of someone I try hard to forget about, but admittedly, I never will. Kawhi Leonard and Tavares are two silent killers. They aren't the traditional rah rah leaders but they lead by example, rarely showing any emotion through the good or the bad.
Most importantly, these kind of leaders block out the noise and don't fold from the pressures they face.
You need to be fearless if you are the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was this defining moment (photo below) that Babcock and management knew they had no other choice but to give it to this man.
He asserted dominance over every single Maple Leaf on that bench and naturally became the alpha leader -- well before it was official.
Toronto had a strong pool of captaincy candidates and many believed our most exciting and expensive player was a lock for it. However, Auston Matthews had a run in with the law earlier this summer, where he drunkenly mooned (with underpants on) a security guard in his condo complex. This caused public outrage across the hockey world and even beyond but the Leafs claimed it had no relevance to Auston not becoming captain. This move will allow AM to play with a chip on his shoulder, where he's at his strongest.
Morgan Reilly was next on the list. He has been here for the good and the bad. He's seen some shit. Since arriving to the league in 2013, his character has developed equally as quick as his skill. The perfect second voice on this young team.
Sure, the Leafs passed up a few joke opportunities with Captain Underpants and Captain Morgan. But this organization is first-class. We will leave it to the Ottawa Senators to provide comedic content for the rest of the league.
Now if you're struggling to find inspiration in your work or your careers, just remember that John Tavares use to be the captain of the New York Islanders. Now at 29, he's the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs