Canadiens' Markov Refuses Vaunted 'C'; Says Volumes of Euro Leadership

Graeme BoyceCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

MONTREAL-APRIL 29:  Captain Saku Koivu #11 of the Montreal Canadiens and P.J. Axelsson #11 of the Boston Bruins take part in the traditional handshake following game 6 of their Eastern Conference first round playoff series at the Molson Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 29, 2002. The Canadiens won 2-1 to win the series four games to two. Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI

You'd think everything was rosy these days over in Smallville, home of the Habs.  After all, the recent roster changes made by the illustrious Mr Gainey have surely positioned the team for another run at the Cup in the spring.  Come to think of it, now the players have the Molson brothers back in charge, surely the team is looking forward to reclaiming a piece of much ballyhoed hockey history.

But it looks like a certain defenseman over there named Andrei Markov was hoping Mr Smirnoff would come to the rescue; seems he doesn't share the local sense of pride.  Besides, seems like he's on the way out in 2011.  Could be, he's only in the game for the money.  To win the Cup, it takes more than the ability to strap on the skates.

Well, in that respect, it's really not that often when I and many of my fellow Leafs fans get to enjoy a laugh at the expense of the Habs.  But I really chuckled, in fact laughed out loud and rather heartily, when reading the news that Markov had turned down an offer to captain the team.  I was then duly tempted to read the comments from Habs fans, and I did, and that's when I realized the city has a problem...

Markov knows the team is going out of the gates next month as a laughing stock.  I have read he's big and bruising, but I also read he's shy, and can't really talk to the media; not really the leader type anyway, moreso that everyone should leave him alone to "do his job".  He knows there's no Cup in the horizon.

That must be a tough pill for Habs fans to swallow.  Oh, too bad.  No sympathy from this camp.  Maybe the Molson bros will flip the team to RIM's Balsillie and Hamilton will finally get its wish, and change the name to something like the Hamilton Steelers, not to mention the toilet seat as a logo.

I'll bet, quite soon, someone will venture Markov turned down the job so that one of the new players could proudly assume the role, like Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri or Brian Gionta.  There was likely a time, in the not too distant past I would imagine, not one player would have dared to turn down the captain's gig in Montreal.

Hopefully more players turn down the 'C' in Montreal.  Apparently the media were hurtful, some suggest mean, to Koivu during his reign.  I'm curious if the Habs will try the non-offensive triple 'A' system, though Kovalev is gone, and so is Higgins, and best for last, Komiserek is in Toronto.

It looks like they still hunting for a real leader in Montreal.  There are a few good men who once wore the rouge bleu and blanc turning in their graves today, and to be clear I'm not laughing at their misery.  They were big and tough, not big and shy.