Bruins/Canucks Stanley Cup Preview: Who has better captain?

Sean Leahy
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Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy and Greg Wyshynski are previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks— on the ice and off the ice.

Wearing the "C" on your jersey, being the media's go-to guy and having to be the voice in the locker room when times are tough aren't the only perks for an NHL captain.

You also get the privilege of being the first player to hoist the Stanley Cup after accepting the trophy from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

NHL captains come in all sorts. Some lead by example. Some are more vocal. Some take their years of experience and presence in the lineup to help guide a team.

That's what we have here. Two different types of NHL captains, with both leading their charges in different ways and successfully. Either way, one will be the second European-born captain to lift the Stanley Cup, joining Nicklas Lidstrom.

So who has the better captain, Boston or Vancouver?

Boston Bruins

He's an intimidating force at 6-9; ask any forward in the NHL and they'll tell you he just might be the toughest defenseman to play against.

Ask any one of Zdeno Chara's teammates about him and they'll tell you that he's grown as a leader since joining the Bruins in 2006 and being named captain days before his Boston debut. As the Bruins play in their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1990, Chara has gone through a very up-and-down season, but through it all has fully grasped what it is to be a team captain in the NHL.

From CSN New England's Joe Haggerty:

Chara couldn't just be a sterling leader by example or the hardest worker on the team as he's always been during his All-Star, Norris Trophy caliber career with the Islanders, Senators and Bruins.

Chara had to show fire and emotion in times of need for his team, and learn how to connect with every single member of his hockey club on a greater level than simply showing them how many pull-ups he could do in 60 seconds.

There was an emotional component to the job that Chara always seemed to be searching for, and it was clearly a process. It would seem that in his most challenging NHL season the B's defenseman finally broke down those walls, and everyone within the organization has taken notice of his evolution as he's battled true adversity all along the way.

When the Bruins needed Chara to be at his best, he delivered, and his teammates feed off of his play.

Vancouver Canucks

While Chara is one who can play with emotion, Henrik Sedin is the "lead by example" type of captain.

In fact, Henrik's woo'ing and arm-raise celebration after accepting the Campbell Bowl is more emotion than many of have ever seen from him.

On the Canucks, however, Sedin doesn't need to be the emotional, vocal or in-your-face kind of captain. Sedin doesn't strike us as the guy who will stand up in the locker room and deliver a "Braveheart" speech to rile up the Canucks.

He has the teammates that have those qualities in their DNA. Sedin can just worry about creating offense and helping to carry the scoring load for Vancouver.

Advantage

For us, it's Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins.

Both are great leaders in their own way, but Chara has grown into the heart of the Bruins team, with Patrice Bergeron helping to keep the blood flowing.

Some would argue a better captain for the Canucks would be Ryan Kesler, a player who could use his emotional style to help get the best out of teammates when times are rough. That's why we like Chara here. He leads by example off the ice and is a player to look up to -- in more ways than one -- off it.

And who's going to question the leadership of a 6-foot-9 guy anyway?