When the New York Rangers announced there captains yesterday for some there was a notable omission in the fact that Brandon Dubinsky was not given a letter for the 2011-12 season. While giving the final “A” to another homegrown Ranger would have been a good thing in terms of the talk surrounding the leadership being the young nucleus, the fact that Dubinsky did not get one is nothing to be concerned about. Brad Richards has the credentials to warrant the letter and it creates an ideal mixture of the youth being represented and a veteran with championship experience being amongst the leadership group.
In terms of Dubinsky himself there is no issue here. Brandon is clearly one of the leaders in the locker room, especially in terms of being vocal, and that voice does not change whether there is a letter on his sweater or not. The media will still run to Dubinsky for the juicy quotes and blunt opinions he is known for and while that is can be comforting to the fans when a team struggles, it does not seem to fit the mold of the captains that coach John Tortorella prefers. Dubinsky made tremendous strides in his maturity last season both on and off the ice and if that continues again this year it is not beyond the realm of possibilities that next season he could be rewarded with the letter that many were concerned he did not get last year.
The simple fact is that letters, as much stock as we put in them, do not make players leaders within the team. For that you have to earn the respect of the other guys in the room and by all accounts Dubinsky has that. Letters and titles are about the media and the fans in how they look at the roles different players have on the team. There is no doubt that Dubinsky would have been honored and humbled if given a letter this season, but not having one should not change anything about the way he conducts his business. Coming off a career year and armed with a lucrative new extension Dubinsky is primed to take his game to another level both on and off the ice.