One of the worst kept secrets in hockey this off-season has finally been revealed in Montreal today. The Canadiens announced that Brian Gionta will become the 28th captain in team history. Joining him as the lettered leaders of the team are defensemen Hal Gill and Andrei Markov who will both wear the “A” this season.
Gionta is one of the more experienced vets on the team and certainly one of their leaders on offense. What makes the choice of Gionta a bit more interesting is that he’s an American. The last American to captain the Canadiens was Chris Chelios back in 1989-1990 when he co-captained the team with Guy Carbonneau.
With any other team, where the player comes from isn’t a big deal but things are a little bit different in Montreal. Should times get tough during the season, having an American leading the team, no matter how much effort they put in to learning French to handle the home press, will become an issue for the overzealous part of the Habs fanbase. No, the entire fanbase isn’t overzealous.
With naming Gionta captain, the official grieving period over Saku Koivu leaving Montreal for Anaheim appears to be over. Scott Gomez is wearing his old number 11 and now Gionta is the team captain. This situation nearly lasted as long as the Habs’ centennial celebration. Thankfully, the team has moved on from that in time to have the Ducks come to Montreal this season, things would’ve gotten awkward otherwise.