The Brew Crew: Is Eric Brewer an OK Captain?

You knew this was going to appear here.

I swear to God, I’ve been meaning to write this for two weeks – check my other posts and see the teasers I’ve dropped behind me like a horse drops poo.  Brad just stole my thunder, that’s all.  Totally. Because that was his intention.  He came over here, noticed I was going to do something on Eric Brewer and went “Hey!  I’ll write it first and teach that poke-ass a lesson.”  Lesson learned.

I have to be contrary and argue that maybe Eric Brewer isn’t that bad of a choice for Blues captain.  Granted, there have been very few fans who have been happy with this decision since Andy Murray gave it to him a few seasons back – and I’ve not always been a huge fan of Brewer based on his play.  Of course, as a fan I matter in the inner workings of team leadership about as much as a speck matters in the grand scheme of the universe.  Barret Jackman told me so:

“[E]verybody in this dressing room knows that Brew is our captain and nobody has ever questioned that. I don’t care what five or 10 people sitting in their mom’s basement or blogging about who does what, they’ve never been in this room and they’ll never know how much Brew means to this team.”

Ok, while I’m not in my mom’s basement (she doesn’t even HAVE one, so there), Jackman has a point.  He could have phrased it a bit better, but he’s right – we as fans have never been in the locker room with the team and we’ve never been privy to what goes on.  Maybe Brewer’s significantly more vocal off the ice than he appears when he’s on it.  That’s the vibe I got after chatting with Louie Korac over Twitter a few weeks ago.  He leads by example and by being the quiet stoic guy.  He’s Silent Bob.  Apparently he doesn’t talk much, but when he does people in the room listen, because when he does talk, it matters.  That’s better than having a huge showboating guy as captain trying to draw attention to himself on and off of the ice.  After a while, no one pays any attention to him.


However, the cap’n needs to lead by example on the ice as well as of.  I’m not saying pull the C every time a captain has a bad season, because there are outlying factors there, too, but Brewer’s lack of emotion on the ice gives people the wrong idea.  He shows it on occasion – he’ll start scrums in the crease and whatnot sometimes – but I’m not sure how much his hesitancy is from the fact that he’s been playing injured the past couple of seasons and how much of it’s the fact that he seems to have the emotional depth of a puddle.

Brewer’s ability to be on the ice for every GA is also frustrating.  Again, this might be because he’s been playing hurt for a while (or at the very least not at 100%).  It is pretty inexcusable for a defenseman to have been a plus player only once in a 11 year career (in 2000 he was a +15 for the Oilers).  Since arriving in St. Louis, he’s been a total -76.  That’s rough for anyone, but for a top pairing defenseman that’s atrocious.

My issue with Eric Brewer has never been what I percieve to be his leadership ability, nor do I think it’s particularly fair for me to attempt to assess something that I know nothing about.  My only glimpses into him as a leader have come from watching games, and that’s a fairly sketchy way to form an opinion about how someone is in charge of a team.  Most fans’ opinions of Brewer have been formed that way, and they’re equating stats with leadership ability, and that might not be fair.

Of course, you judge the president’s ability based on his decisions too.  Is it fair to judge him based on what you see on TV without taking how he works with his cabinet into consideration?  Probably not.  Are both things part of the overall assessment?  Absolutely.  People just have to realize that they’re not getting the full picture of how things are going for the team, and much like sitting presidents, their legacy isn’t usually determined while in office.

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.