The Montreal Canadiens’ franchise is one of the most storied organizations in sports history. Players who don the jersey are praised, Stanley Cup champions are praised, and captains are immortalized. So why would Markov turn down such a distinctive position?
He has seen what former Canadien Saku Koivu went through during his tenure as the captain. He was constantly abused by fans when they were not winning, attacked by reporters after every single game and was under constant pressure to perform.
Markov doesn’t want that. Who does?
Markov simply wants to go out on the ice, do what he does best, and go home without any scrutiny. Would being the captain of such a historically rich hockey team affect his play? Evidently, he believes it would.
You have to respect a guy who just wants to produce for his team, regardless of what his position with the team is.
Does Montreal really want Markov as captain? Do they want a guy as their captain who has to think about whether or not to accept the offer? A captain of any team, an organization typically wants a leader who will embrace their role and thrive under it. If a guy has to think twice about being a leader of this team, management is better served moving on to the next candidate.
If I were a Habs fan, I would be totally okay with this. I would rather have Markov as a rock on defense, consistently putting up points, quarterbacking the power play and keeping to himself; than having him as captain, potentially buckling under the limelight. To reject such a high position was no doubt a difficult decision. But for his own production and stress level, he has to believe he made the right decision.
For now, he is satisfied with wearing the “A” for the Canadiens. He doesn’t get the burden of being the captain and still gets the respect of his teammates and referees. He could go out and improve his game, which he has done every season since he broke into the league, without the distraction of cameras following him around.
Every season has been a career year for him. Why mess that up? He simply does not want the limelight that the captain position comes with in a hockey crazed market.
For years, the fans of the Canadiens criticized Koivu for many things, one being unwilling to speak French. If a Finn was not willing to learn francais, what makes them think a Russian will?
My advice to Montreal is to give their captaincy to someone who has been in the franchise for a while (Markov err… Roman Hamrlik) or someone who is excited to be a Canadien and willing to learn the language (Scott Gomez), or how about someone who is literally a Canadian (Mike Cammalleri).
Would a Canadian captain for the Canadiens be so bad?