Bold prediction, right? But we want Brandon Dubinsky as Captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets! Nathan Horton has only played 2 games! How can they name him captain already?
Marketing. That’s how.
Think about it.
Horton has been marketed relentlessly since he signed with the Blue Jackets. He has done everything from opening the new Chiller Ice Rink in Springfield, to passing out pizza and answering questions at Hockey ‘N Heels. Sure, he was hurt and didn’t have anything else to do, but I quickly became indifferent to Nathan Horton.
Look at the difference in language from when the Blue Jackets acquired Marian Gaborik to when they signed Horton:
“Throughout this process our focus was to add a player who could provide a boost to our offense, improve our goal scoring and power play and we identified Marian Gaborik as the player we wanted,” said Kekalainen. “He has been an elite goal scorer in this league for many years and we are very excited to have him.” - Jarmo Kekalainen
“Nathan is a competitor. He goes to the right areas to score goals in today’s game which is right on that blue paint. You’ve got to go into the hard areas to score goals. Tips and rebounds and taking the beating in front of the net is part of it. He’s a big guy that is hard to move from those areas and he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. I think he fits all those things.
Obviously we’ve done our homework on what type of teammate he is and what type of character he brings to our group and all those things checked in very positive. That’s why he was the number one guy on our list. We went after our number one guy and got him and so we were very, very pleased.” - Jarmo Kekalainen
The way Jarmo talked about Gaborik was very straightforward and dry. The way he talked about Horton was much more enthusiastic and descriptive. Both players are “big names.” Both players can score goals. But Horton has the charisma and charm to not only be a captain in the dressing room, but an ambassador for the team. He can easily woo a crowd of ladies and that smile could convince anyone that they need to buy tickets to a Blue Jackets game.
The Blue Jackets have yet to name a captain this season stating that the right man has not stepped up. Now that Horton is in the room, they can say that he has stepped up and proved himself to be a leader. I’m not saying naming Horton as captain is a bad thing, as long as he is the best man for the job. There are other players that would make great captains, such as Brandon Dubinsky, Blake Comeau, and Nick Foligno. But would these players play the marketing game as well as Nathan Horton does?