Skip to content

Crosby and Doan crack NHL.com’s greatest captains list

Sep 2, 2012, 11:25 PM EDT

Mark Messier AP

Leadership isn’t something that’s measured in box scores, yet writers and fans exalt players who seem to lead by example.

NHL.com’s John Kreiser received an interesting assignment in that regard, as he tabbed the 10 greatest captains in the history of the sport.

Most probably saw the top choice coming like a famous guarantee:

1. Mark Messier

Of all the great leaders in NHL history, only one has an award named for him. That would be Messier, whose Mark Messier Leadership Award is presented each year to recognize a player who’s a superior leader on his team on and off the ice.

Steve Yzerman came in second place while two active players made the list.

Shane Doan rolled in and No. 10 while Sidney Crosby took the seventh spot. Phoenix’s ownership nightmare earned Doan bonus points:

The unsettled ownership situation hasn’t kept the Coyotes from making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past three seasons — they made the Western Conference Finals last spring — despite a shifting roster and the inability to keep big-ticket players. Doan, who assumed the captaincy in 2003, has become the face of the franchise off the ice while keeping his teammates focused on the task at hand on-ice.

Some might say the most memorable (or at least public) moment of Crosby’s captaincy came when he couldn’t play.

After a report circulated that a few Penguins allegedly wanted the “C” stripped from Crosby’s jersey, Pittsburgh players practiced with C’s on their sweaters as an added showing of solidarity.

Which players stand out as the greatest leaders in your mind?

  1. sunderlanding - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    George Armstrong.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 3, 2012 at 3:21 AM

      Thank you!!! Leafs have won the Cup 4 times since 1952, and each time it was handed to Mr Armstrong, which puts him ahead of several of the other fine captains listed.

    • Eberwizzle - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      I’m beginning to believe these writers get paid by who gets the most comments under their story. Putting Crosby, Flyers, Rick Nash still not traded, Shane Doan not signed……etc is sure to get 40 comments.

      • sunderlanding - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        No kidding. George Armstrong won four cups and was considered to be the best motivational speaker of his day. Can you picture Crosby getting everyone pumped up to win? He’s a great player not a great captain. A lot of people can’t seem to tell the difference.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Crosby ahead of Sakic? I don’t think so.

  3. njdevils44 - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Scott Stevens com on man

  4. micklethepickle - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Crosby, a great leader? LOLLERSK8Z

  5. theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    Any list that doesn’t have Jean Beliveau needs to be burned and stated over.
    Crosby is WAY too early and Doan doesn’t deserve to be on the list.
    Sakic 7th? What?

    1. Jean Beliveau
    2. Mark Messier
    3. Steve Yzerman
    4. Denis Potvin
    5. Joe Sakic
    6. Bobby Clarke
    7. Scott Stevens
    8. Nicklas Lidstrom
    9. Ray Bourque
    10. Doug Gilmour/Wendell Clark

    Fixed

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:36 AM

      Jean Beliveau 1st*

  6. philliesblow - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Not saying he wasn’t great, but Messier benefited from playing in NY. I’ll take Stevie Y over him.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      The guarantee in NY and winning a cup without Wayne has to put him ahead of Stevie, and I’m a Wings fan.

  7. therealjr - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Shane Doan. #10 captain in history of hockey. Srsly lolz.

  8. scoops1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Stevie should be #1 because he understood what sacrifice was all about. He changed his style of play to help the team and in the process sacrificed individual stats. Mess is a great captain but the rangers needed him most he jumped shipped and went to Vancouver

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      OK time for me to tear my guy Stevie down for a brief second.

      Steve Yzerman became a great 2 way player not after Bowman asked him to change, but after he was nearly traded to Ottawa. Then he became one of the greatest of all time. Don’t become one of those revisionist historians.

      Messier wons cups with Wayne, Without Wayne is a tiny market that was REELING from the Wayne trade, and then cam in as a hired gun and won on the biggest stage in the world.

      Don’t whine about the Rangers letting Messier walk as a free agent after 6 years and winning a Cup. He didn’t “jump ship” he delivered and made the Rangers a TON of cash with that Cup win, and they made the choice not to extend him, and allow his contract to expire.

      I LOVE all the Steve Y love, but Messier has more cups, more goals, more assists in both regular season and playoffs. And was a captain who could drop the gloves and tear your head off.
      He just trumps Stevie by a little, just accept it.

  9. highlander24 - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    Dustin Brown.

  10. rushledger - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    “Oh no Crosby getting props? We got to utterly bash him!” – hockey trolls

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:56 AM

      He’s a great player, but one of the top 10 captains of all time? Not yet.

      • scoops1 - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        so that was a captain who brushed away Voracek’s gloves when Voracek tried to pick em up or was that Sid channeling his inner Sean Avery

      • chizmo - Sep 4, 2012 at 8:38 AM

        agree that you could hold off on adding Sid to that list. pretty silly, but it did get a reaction so maybe it served its purpose.

        are we still talking about big bad sid the whiny baby brushing a glove away?? not sure what people are so mad about. how is that evidence that he is a poor captain? if the amount of anger he’s caused the flyers players and fans is any indication, Sid is doing his job just fine!

  11. taytay099 - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Trevor Linden is one of my favourite captains of all time.

  12. bcjim - Sep 3, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    While locking out the players the nhl media outlet should not also be jocking them. They are talking out of both sides of their necks.

    And whoever said Jean Beliveau…lol, the list seems to be of players people can actually remember having seen.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      What a beyond stupid comment
      ” LOL Babe Ruth, why add him to any list, can’t ever remember that guy”

      Just because you’re ignorant and clueless about the history of the game doesn’t mean everything needs to be dumbed down to fit your tiny window of knowledge.

  13. pcsurge - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Rod Brind’amour! He led Carolina to their only cup and completely change the culture of the franchise. He was the hardest working player every game, practice, meeting, etc. He played with more heart than anyone else I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to be at the game where they retired his jersey and not only did the Carolina fans show him love but plenty Philadelphia fans made the drive to support him.

  14. ducksk - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Messy? He sucks as a leader. Big mouth and even bigger ego. Not my capt! #1 all time….Sakic! Messy could not carry his jock.

  15. bronxsanman - Sep 3, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Sidney Crosby? That has to be a misprint or a bad joke.This guy isn’t one of the 50 greatest players of all time so how can he be on this list. I certainly wouldn’t want him as my captain.All I have ever seen from him is immaturity.At least they got number 1 correct. Messier is hands down the greatest captain in NHL history. If you don’t believe me just ask Wayne Gretzky.

  16. ndrick731 - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Any list about anything positive has to include Crosby. NHL rule. Failure to follow rule leads to banishment from press in NHL arenas.

  17. cosmoandmelovepens - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Acually Crosby could have the argument to be in the top 10 all time, let me guess, your a flyers fan.

  18. Eberwizzle - Sep 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Not bashing Crosby (great player)….but there is no way he is in top 10

  19. handsofsweed - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    As a Pens fan since 1989, I cannot believe Le Magnifique is not on this list. Love Sid, but his boss beat cancer, years of crippling back problems, won it all twice in a row and literally saved hockey in Pittsburgh. What else do you have to do to lead?

  20. sergeikremlin - Sep 3, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I’m still trying to figure out if this writer is serious.

    Scott Stevens captains the Devils to three Stanley Cups and is pretty much the definition of a leader, and he doesn’t even get a spot?

    Sidney Crosby is ahead of all-time greats Joe Sakic and Ray Bourque?

    I can see leaving Gretzky off, but you’re telling me Mario Lemieux isn’t one of the greatest, most inspirational leaders of all time?

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This list is an embarrassment to the official NHL website. Hopefully the guys at PHT can make-up a true list!

  21. ducksk - Sep 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Quit the sid bashing! Jealous fools. He is in the in the top 5 of all time to play the game. Unless u want to talk about a different era. Sick of hearing how many cups Montreal has when they played 5 other teams. What has any Canada team won in almost 20 years? Oh yea, the olympics with 87.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Wayne
      Orr
      Messier
      Lemieux
      Yzerman

      Nope not in the top 5

      Esposito
      Lidstrom
      Potvin
      Sakic
      Forsberg

      Nope not in the Top 10

      • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        Richard
        Lafleur
        Clarke
        Bourque
        Howe

        Nope Not in the top 15

  22. filthadelphiadivers - Sep 3, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    I do agree that it’s still a little early to put Sid in the all time top ten as far as captains….however I don’t get how
    Mario isn’t on that list…he is easily top 5

  23. snipedanglecelly13 - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Sidney is more like the top ten babies of all time lol he’s good player but not the one of the top ten all time captains…what a joke

  24. navzgm - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Doan has lead his team to so much… Yea, not on my list. Crosby?? And yes, Beliveau should be up there.

  25. jason9696 - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Shane Doan’s mother must’ve made this list. Unbelievable.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1198)
  2. B. Schenn (1099)
  3. N. Horton (971)
  4. R. McDonagh (959)
  5. B. Bishop (940)