After having their first season without a captain in 101 years, the Montreal Canadiens seem ready and willing to finally select one. A decision that will certainly be scrutinised by media and fans alike, regardless of who is picked to join the ranks of Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and former general manager Bob Gainey.
Before we evaluate our candidates, let’s take a look at what it takes to be the captain of the NHL’s most storied franchise. Wearing the ‘’C’’ on your jersey in Montreal means much more than being a leader on and off the ice. It is a symbol of strength, perseverance and philanthropy.
Show of strength is necessary in every facet of your everyday life as a top dog, having such a distinguished honor can get you kicked off the non-proverbial island rather quickly if your weak. Perseverance, whether it be leading your team to a come from behind win or facing the media after a lashing out the night before. Persevere and you’ll always survive another day. Philanthropist captains are your connection with the fans, your 82 plus game schedule aside, as the face of the franchise you’ll be attending charity functions, golf tournaments and touring the pediatric wing. And you’ll do it with a smile on your face.
Let’s begin with Josh Gorges; the 26 year old British Columbia native showed us great things in the playoffs last year along with line-mate Hal Gill. At 195lbs he isn’t exactly the most intimidating defence-man you’ve ever seen, but his hockey mind makes up for his lack of size. Touted by Don Cherry as the future captain of the franchise, Gorges looks like he’s definitely in the mix especially with Jacques Martin eyeing him as a his main nominee.
Our second d-man in the flow is newly appointed Canadian citizen and NHL All-Star Andrei Markov. The Russian blue-liner has a very high probability of being head honcho of the dressing room this year as he’s been with the franchise longer than all the other candidates. Whenever Markov is quarterbacking the power play good things always seem to happen. With rumors of a possible return for mid-October after having knee surgery in the summer, our new comrade remains a very serious contender.
The only notable forward with a legitimate shot at taking this role is veteran Stanley Cup winner Brian Gionta. The American personifies the term ‘’playing like a big man’’ every time he’s on that ice. Hitting the air pockets under Chris Pronger’s arms to literally propel himself into the opposing zone, shifting speed quicker than a Bugatti Veyron. Don’t get it twisted though, Gionta proved he can also score by notching 28 goals in 61 regular season games last season. If he can stay away from injury, don’t be surprised if number 21 scores over forty goals this year.
Rounding up our list of candidates are all the other veterans that have a smaller probability of receiving the honor. Michael Cammalleri’s name has been said a few times when the subject has been brought up. Understandably so as he is a very professional on and off player. Scott ‘’G-Love’’ Gomez is another name we’ve heard, it’s highly unlikely given the love-hate relationship the fans have with the Stanley Cup winning Anchorage, Alaska native. Hal Gill impressed a lot of people in the playoffs but is heading into a contract year and has been known to have very slow starts. If the Canadiens do re-sign him, Gauthier will opt for a smaller price tag to keep him.
The decision is unfortunately not up to us but we can still discuss this amicably. What are your personal picks on who should be number 33?