Well, the Montreal Canadiens roster officially got trimmed by one more player.
Despite a “rally of the masses” on Sunday afternoon at the Bell Centre, Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey told CJAD radio on Monday that Alex Kovalev would not be returning.
Hours later, Kovalev took the money—$10 million over two years—and ran up the highway to the Ottawa Senators.
The Northeast Division will be fun to watch this season, without a doubt.
With Kovalev’s departure and the likely signing of Saku Koivu to either Buffalo, Atlanta, Anaheim, or whatever square Eklund’s rumor dart hit this afternoon, this leaves the captain and all the assistant captains from last season's team off to greener pastures. Mike Komisarek defected to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1 and Christopher Higgins was traded to the New York Rangers on June 30.
The question now has to be asked, who will be the next captain?
Andrei Markov has been an assistant captain in the past, but is unlikely to be captain. You have to remember that Koivu was criticized for not speaking French. Markov can barely speak English so it’s safe to rule him out. The Kostitsyn brothers? Georges Laraque ? Forget it!
Scott Gomez seems to be an early popular choice, despite not playing one game for the Canadiens. Sorry Mr. Gomez, but there’s too much tradition to just walk in and take the “C." Ditto for Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.
In all likelihood two of these three will be alternate captains.
Young bucks Josh Gorges, Maxim Lapierre, and maybe Guillaume Latendresse would be good choices as an alternate captains in my opinion, but I feel none of this trio is at a full leadership level.
Roman Hamrlik is the long-time veteran on the team, but could be moved before the start of the season.
In any event, the Canadiens have never gone without a captain in their history.
The captaincy of the Montreal Canadiens has always been voted on by the players, so ultimately it will be up to the final roster when it is set sometime in late September. The players may elect to go a shared route in the 2009-10 season. Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios alternated months in the 1989-90 season when the team vote was as close as the Quebec Referendum vote.
Either way, that individual is the go-to man for the fans and media of a team, with 100 years of history and 16 years and counting without a Stanley Cup. Preferably, I want a long-standing captain like Koivu—win or lose—and not a revolving door that we saw in the mid-90s.
Let’s not rule out the current captain just yet, shall we?
List of Montreal Canadiens Captains
|Jack Laviolette 1909-10||Emile Bouchard 1948-56|
|Newsy Lalonde 1910-11||Maurice Richard 1956-60|
|Jack Laviolette 1911-12||Doug Harvey 1960-61|
|Newsy Lalonde 1912-13||Jean Beliveau 1961-71|
|Jimmy Gardner 1913-15||Henri Richard 1971-75|
|Howard McNamara 1915-16||Yvan Cournoyer 1975-79|
|Newsy Lalonde 1916-22||Serge Savard 1979-81|
|Sprague Cleghorn 1922-25||Bob Gainey 1981-89|
|Billy Coutu 1925-26||G. Carbonneau/C. Chelios 1989-90|
|Sylvio Mantha 1926-32||Guy Carbonneau 1990-94|
|George Hainsworth 1932-33||Kirk Muller 1994-95|
|Sylvio Mantha 1933-36||Mike Keane Apr – Dec 1995|
|Albert “Babe” Seibert 1936-39||Pierre Turgeon 1995-96|
|Walter Buswell 1939-40||Vincent Damphousse 1996-99|
|Hector “Toe” Blake 1940-48||Saku Koivu 1999-??|
|Bill Durnan Jan – Apr 1948|