A wait and 'C' situation

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

It could be a case of too many leaders.

Too many, perhaps, to pick out one captain.

With the departure of Jason Smith - the Edmonton Oilers longest serving captain - the position is up for grabs heading into the 2007-08 season.

Steve Staios, Ethan Moreau, Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll are all strong candidates. They would all be worthy of wearing the "C".

"We're coming to that in the next little while," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It'll probably be sooner than later. We're starting to settle into what we want to do in that regard."

The possibility of rotating captains throughout the season was brought up.

It's something the Oilers have never done. But MacTavish doubts that will happen.

"It could have been an option, but it's not one that I prefer," MacTavish said. "We'll see."

Whoever it is, he will be the Oilers 12th captain, a position held by the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, MacTavish, Kelly Buchberger and Doug Weight.

"We feel our leadership is strong here regardless of who would wears the 'C', " said Staios. "It's such an honour that it would be a great thing to have personally, but there is no great shortage of leaders on this team."

Smith had been captain of the Oilers since the 2001-02 season. But he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers this off-season.

Sheldon Souray just arrived in Edmonton which could rule him out. The tendency for the organization is to award the captaincy to a team veteran.

"The whole thing about being a captain - knowing from past experiences - you're only as good as the guys around you," Staios said. "If they believe and you have that support. That was the thing with Gator (Smith) here, we had his back and we made decisions together. It's was a group thing. It's not a real big concern. I know it's a topic of conversation, but it's not a real big concern for our team."


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