On TSN 1050’s Leafs Lunch show with Andi Petrillo this afternoon, Toronto Maple Leafs legend Wendel Clark weighed in on the team’s vacant captaincy and made some surprising comments about young superstar Auston Matthews.
When asked point blank whether or not Matthews would be a good fit to be the next captain of the Leafs, Clark replied, “I think the slow process that the team has of announcing any kind of captain is great. Just by putting a “C” on your jersey, it doesn’t make you a better player. You’re the better player first and then all that other stuff happens…”
That’s not exactly the same ringing endorsement that another former Leafs captain gave Matthews earlier this week. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Mats Sundin said, “He’s obviously the right person to be captain, no doubt about that. He leads on the ice and you can tell he’s a good man off the ice.”
Clark didn’t totally count out the idea of Matthews wearing the “C” in Toronto however, he merely thinks it’s premature to anoint him this early in his career. He clarified his thoughts saying, “I like that they’re taking their time and Auston can figure out what it’s like to be a NHL hockey player for a a few years before he becomes the captain. As soon as he puts the “C” on his jersey, he’s going to get a lot tougher questions.”
Good point. The Toronto media can be BRUTAL… are the Leafs sheltering Matthews from the worst of it while he finds his footing on the team and in the market? It’s a strategy that could pay off. Looking back to Sundin’s career and Clark’s career, two of the team’s all-time greatest leaders, neither of them were named captain until their 7th season in the NHL.