The baseball Cardinals have not had a "captain" in the clubhouse since Ken Boyer carried the distinction in the early 1960s. The NFL Rams have three captains, a separation of powers that seems as constitutional as it is purposeful.

Hockey is a different animal. Every NHL team has a captain, a solitary figure who wears the "C" prominently on his jersey. It may seem trivial to outside observers, a practice that lost its relevancy with escalated salaries and unrestricted movement.

Blues defenseman Barret Jackman understands the cynicism, and he's not about to suggest the naming of a captain is crucial to a season's outcome. What Jackman does suggest is the office of captaincy is still meaningful in hockey, a time-honored piece of the culture, a cherished appointment that is germane to a team's identity.