Flashback to 2007, the year every Sens fan loves. If you didn't know it already, we did a favor to the Pittsburgh Penguins by telling them how to play in the playoffs, the hard way. A month later, the team named Sidney Crosby captain and Evgeni Malkin assistant captain. Many pundits had no idea why they did this move. The team had Mark Recchi, Gary Roberts, and Sergei Gonchar but instead they went with the young guns.
Back to 2009, I think all of us are praising that same move. Both Crosby and Malkin grew that year under the leadershop of Roberts and Recchi. Seeing how the two youngsters would never leave Pittsburgh, it was smart to give them the leadership of the team, and give them more responsibility.
Dany Heatley was given the "A" last off-season in a move to inspire him and Jason Spezza to expand their role on the team. It seemed to work in the first stages of the season, but both players suddenly lost interest in the game. We now all know what happened with Dany Heatley, so it's safe to say he won't be given the "A" next season even if he returns. This is why the Sens need to give it to Jason Spezza. Without his longtime friend Dany, he now realizes his role has to expand and he's watching Alfie, like a role-model. If you give Spezza the "A" right now, when Alfie retires, Spez will get the feeling what it's like to be a leader on the ice and in the locker room. It happened with Pittsburgh, and they went on to win the Cup. Now, I'm not saying this kind of move would bring Stanley here, but when Spezza takes over the captaincy one day, every young gun on the Sens at that time will be looking at him, seeing what adversity he had to face as a Senator, and how he overcame it. A role-model, indeed.
Little steps are all that it takes to become a stronger and more united team. Management has to realize that, but so should Sens fans. The future is in the hands of the present.