By Patrick Kelly
After a report a few days ago from Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, the St. Louis Blues officially filled the captaincy void left by Alex Pietrangelo and filled it with the most popular candidate in Ryan O’Reilly. Along with O’Reilly getting the “C,” the Blues announced the three assistant captains would be Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko.
From the moment he arrived here, O’Reilly accepted a large leadership role, already understanding that he was a veteran that players would look up to. In practice, he has always been the example of the first guy on and off the ice, but it isn’t just to make him a better player. After every practice he will usually have an array of players who will stay after with him, mainly young guys like Zach Sanford or Sammy Blais who see how the hard work O’Reilly has put in pays off.
There isn’t just one reason someone is named captain It’s usually because a player exudes many different traits. O’Reilly is also one of the players who is always available for the media and understands this is his chance on a daily basis to communicate with fans. Times aren’t always good during a season. It goes in waves and O’Reilly is always someone able to put whatever the situation is into perspective and have an optimistic view of the outcome. The reason he is so optimistic is because he’s a team first guy; he looks around the locker room and sees the talent and potential.
The final and biggest thing looked for in a captain is someone who proudly represents the franchise and what they try to represent. O’Reilly shows this each game with what he does for the Blues for Kids foundation. Each home game people can nominate a child 16 and under who displays courage, compassion, leadership, perseverance and respect with the winner receiving four tickets to the game and a meet-and-greet after the game with O’Reilly. This has been consistent since he came to St. Louis and each and every game, big win or big loss, he makes his way from the locker room with a big smile on his face, ready to make someone’s night.