It was mentioned during the telecast last night Bill Guerin has not had an assist since October 10th and I thought it was a mistake. Turns out it was absolutely correct here.
I have no doubt Bill Guerin does all he can behind the scenes and more to help the club but as Bill Guerin said himself this is about what players do when the puck drops. To this point he is giving this team almost nothing in games. This begs the question was it a mistake to name a player they just signed captain or is Guerin's off ice leadership more important than his production ?
I'm not sure what else Ted Nolan can do to jump start the captain's game. He's moved Guerin to the third line with Mike Sillinger, he has had him on the first like with Mike Comrie most of the season and last night we saw him on the second line with Josef Vasicek who looked far less visible against Atlanta and he has a primary role on the struggling power play. That's all three right wing spots the coach can use him at to get him going offensively and it's not working.
A few things have to be pointed out here in defense of Bill Guerin:
* He has never been a team captain in his entire career.
* He has played in the Western Conference since 2002-03.
* In Dallas, San Jose he had much stronger offense to where he was a support player.
* All the talk about how much this team likes one another and works hard is a byproduct of the team captain's efforts behind the scenes.
Neither one of those items are small details and begs the question is being captain off the ice taking a toll on the ice?
Going from what has traditionally been a more wide open conference on teams with far more primary offensive scoring where he had less lockeroom responsibility to the most qualified right wing offensive talent on the roster and being a captain is asking a lot combined with more defensive play is required on a team playing so many one goal games.
He had five assists in the opening weekend against Buffalo, one on October 10th that's almost two full months without helping set up a single goal.
Ted Nolan and Garth Snow are out of options here. They are not removing him as captain. If his offensive struggles continue interest will be low for him at the trade deadline if the club is out of contention because he is signed for next season at close to five million dollars. My guess is unless he starts contributing this club will be out of contention.
Lot's of questions, no easy answers.