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Being a Captain in 2010 | October
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It's something men struggle with everyday. And it's not erectile disfunction, although I hear they struggle with that too.

It's how to be a man in 2010. How do you act? If you follow the mold of the recently returned WWII vet you've seen in the movies you bottle everything up and drink yourself into a coma every night. If you learned more lessons from Tony Soprano than your dad you don't take no shit from nobody. If Jesus is the kind of man you could see yourself hanging out with, eating Domino's new pizza after you snap a pic of it with your cell phone, than you kill 'em with kindness. Or just be kind I suppose.

As the decades have passed and the man's version of People Magazine or TMZ, sports, has become a more dominant part of every fan's daily life, we've been offered a more comprehensive view of the male athlete as a person. As far as I know hockey players only ever smiled on two occasions in the '50's - when they couldn't tell if they were facing a 'moving camera' or a regular one and when they won the Stanley Cup. Now a days players answer questions about their favorite movies, do long featurettes with men made of wax from the NHL Network, and attempt to display their less serious side on Coatsey's Corner - it's an entirely different world.

So where the role of a man has become possibly more ambiguous over time I would also assume the role of leader has as well.

Who are the great Captains of the past 20 years? Steve Yzerman, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla are the players who immediately jump to my mind. Did they ever call out the opposition? Was it looked at as bitching or defending their own teams? Is there a difference if a very low profile captain like Chris Clark was on the Caps speaks candidly to the media versus Stevie Y? Is tenure involved - do you have to earn the right? Is it called wisdom when an greybeard complains?

I had the realization that it's easier for me to watch the sport of hockey, just the sport itself, when the Flyers are not one of the teams playing. I'm overly critical of the Flyers and it clouds my perspective of what is actually happening on the ice. With that in mind you can see why I'm having a tough time deciding what I think of Mike Richards' comments to the media after Saturday's loss. He tossed the company line in favor of candor, which I'm always in favor for no matter who does it. But the officiating taboo is a dangerous one to address. Is it a captain's job every now and again, after a game, to indirectly criticize the officials by directly calling out a rival team?

I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that I love seeing our captain call out Matt Cooke for being a spot-picking pussy. If a 19 year old can smear that idiot's face all over the ice I imagine with Mike Richards would knock his mushy face into the cheap seats.