During a morning news conference ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs' home-opener, head coach Mike Babcock was asked if he was ready to announce the team's new captain.
His answer, “No.”
It's no doubt the team will have a captain this season, Babcock confirmed, but as to who that will be, fans will have to wait and see.
When asked how the decision will be announced, the head coach said, “I don’t know. Actually I do know and I’m not going to tell you."
Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock speaks to reporters after a locker clean out at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, on Thursday, April 25, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov)
Some players also know who the captain will be, but aren't ready to spill either.
John Tavares said that a group has been “briefed,” but would not go further.
Auston Matthews was asked if he was one of the players who had been briefed, he said with a laugh, “I have” and “wouldn’t you like to know.”
Morgan Rielly was equally tight lipped, saying that he too was in the know. With a grin he would only add “I think you guys will find out tonight, that's what I've been told to say.”
What Leafs fans do know heading into tonight’s game at Scotiabank Arena is that the team will have a captain when the puck drops at 7 p.m. against the Ottawa Senators.October 2, 2019
Tavares says that the announcement is something that can be a lift for the team.
“I think our whole group, I think we all want to feed off it and opening night and I think a great way to show to the city and show to the fans who it's going to be.”
The team has been without a captain since the 2015-16 season when Dion Phaneuf wore the “C” on his jersey.
In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) skates with the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthersin Sunrise, Fla. (The Associated Press/Alan Diaz)
Babcock says that they waited for a reason.
“We didn't name a captain for a long time because we didn't think it was obvious," he said. “We talked a ton about this. We talked to our players about it. We talked to our staff about it. We talked to our management team about it and in the end we made the right decision for the Leafs.”
The new captain, whoever they may be, will be the 18th captain in team history.