Confirmation that Kieran Read will be moving on after the World Cup has inadvertently provided a major clue why the Blues remain winless in 2019.
In fact it has, if the logic is extended, given all the answers to determine what has effectively been at the core of the Blues' problems for the past decade. If not longer.
Read, having been groomed since 2012 to take over the All Blacks captaincy in 2016, will retire from test football in November, and in doing so, begin the process of identifying his successor.
It's not an open field but it is more contestable than when Richie McCaw retired in 2015.
Then, there was no uncertainty, no short-list as such. Read had captained the team nine times between 2012 and 2015 and was the only candidate — his appointment confirmed in February 2016 before Super Rugby had even kicked off.
After this World Cup, there will be a short-list headed by Sam Whitelock, with Sam Cane the strongest alternative choice and Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles and Brodie Retallick the wild card options.
Vying for the All Blacks captaincy will be a Crusader, two Chiefs and two Hurricanes.
No one from the Highlanders is in the frame, but if Aaron Smith re-signs to stay in New Zealand, he will continue to be one of the more influential senior leaders, and other than Read and Whitelock, Ben Smith is the only other man to have captained the All Blacks since the last World Cup.
There is a conspicuous absence of Blues representation on the short-list for the next All Blacks captain, and thinking back, there hasn't been a serious candidate since Sean Fitzpatrick and Zinzan Brooke retired in 1998.
Keven Mealamu, a loyal Blues servant, captained the All Blacks in a test in 2008 and there probably hasn't been an All Black in the modern age who has been as respected by his peers.
But Mealamu was a natural leader rather than a natural captain. He became the All Blacks' off-field enforcement officer because his impeccable character, discipline and conduct could reduce to tears those who had been up to no good and had to look him in the eye.
He was hugely effective in that role, but while he commanded huge respect, he didn't necessarily have the sheer force of personality that it takes to be the permanent captain. He didn't have that ability to see the game, react to it and get those around him to follow his plan.
The same was true of Jerome Kaino, whose destructive ball carrying and tackling gave him not only incredible presence, but the ability to inspire those around him.
He also had the capacity to speak up to drive standards and to tell others when he felt they needed to be doing more, which was perhaps a result of being thumped by Jerry Collins in his first year as an All Black for not knowing the lineout codes.
But Kaino, for all that it looked and felt like he should have been a strong, bold and decisive captain of the Blues, never was.
It transpired that he was happiest, at his best, when he was following the likes of Richie McCaw and Kieran Read, and the blindside veteran was strangely never quite able to convince he was cut out for leadership or captaincy.
And this prolonged absence of effective leaders at the Blues has been at the core of their underperformance. They haven't produced a McCaw, or a Read, or a Whitelock for an eternity and there's no one in the current squad who necessarily appeals as a future colossus.
Plenty of teams throughout history have been able to achieve twice as much with half as much simply because they have had an imposing captain and other strong leaders.
The Crusaders haven't always had the most gifted or talented squads but they have always had forceful and influential leaders.
McCaw took the All Blacks captaincy in 2006, passed it on to a fellow Crusader in 2016 and another Crusader is favourite to assume the throne.
Look around Super Rugby at the moment, and the Blues, Highlanders, Crusaders, Waratahs and Reds are all coached by former Crusaders — tactically astute men, with the eloquence, vision and range of skills to lead and guide others.
So much of the Crusaders' success in the past 20 years has come from their astute decision-making, inclusive yet demanding team culture and the priceless ability of their captain and leadership group to bind them all to the cause.
The strength of their leadership and the specific talismanic force of their various captains has consistently enabled them to produce more than the sum of their individual parts.
The Hurricanes finally came good in 2015 when they made Dane Coles captain and the strength of his leadership, combined with the astute input of Brad Shields and Beauden Barrett, was instrumental in turning them into champions a year later.
The Highlanders have become a consistent, credible challenger since they made Ben Smith captain.
Smith showed how far he has come as a leader when last year he marched out and picked up the ball before a conversion could be taken to ensure the referee had another look at the build-up.
Problems are mounting at the Chiefs this year and no doubt some of that is due to the unavailability of Sam Cane, who is a level-headed captain who could yet leapfrog Whitelock in the race to succeed Read.
In contrast, the Blues, not so much in the past five years, have had greater talent at their disposal than most of the other New Zealand sides and the greater range of collective skills and ability but have all too easily fallen apart.
There has been no towering figure at the club to demand the most out of the group. Some incredible talents have been through the Blues — Carlos Spencer, Doug Howlett, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane — but there has been no single figure who has been able to harness all the club has and keep everyone together on those difficult nights when they encounter a rampant opponent.
There was no Blues player in the frame to take over the All Blacks captaincy in 2004 when Reuben Thorne was dropped. There was no Blues candidate pushing to take over from Tana Umaga in 2005 and there was no one close in 2015 either when McCaw retired.
The Blues, for whatever reason, don't appear to be able to develop mental strength in their players as easily as they do physical strength.
That there is still no candidate from the Blues remotely in the frame to take over from Read goes some way to explaining why they haven't won a game yet in 2019 and why a lack of leadership is the single greatest failing the club can't fix.