From the Department of Overdue and Dramatic Decisions this morning, Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier declared during his morning press conference that the Canadiens will, indeed, have a captain this season.
General manager Pierre Gauthier said Monday there will be a few candidates for the job but gave no hint of who will be chosen.
“The process is ongoing,” he said during a media availability. “What happened during the playoffs and before when we had to push hard to make the playoffs at the end of last season, that’s where a leadership group formed inside the team.
“Now the core of the team understands better who the leaders are.”
Since Saku Koivu left for Anaheim the Habs have been without an on-ice captain. Last season they rolled with players wearing the “A” as the franchise seemed to go through a year of mourning after not re-signing Koivu and seeing him go off to southern California.
This year, Koivu’s old number 11 will be worn by Scott Gomez and now the team is set to give the “C” to any one of guys like Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Markov or a dark horse candidate ( like Josh Gorges). Captaincy in Montreal is certainly a bigger deal there than in some other cities because the demands of a captain in Montreal are amped up by exponential degrees thanks to a rabid fanbase.
Who is the guy that makes most sense for the job? Mike Cammalleri. He’s able to communicate in both English and French (kind of a big deal in Quebec), he’s the leader on the stat sheet for the team and he’s done a world of growing up since his days in Los Angeles and Calgary. He’s a mature guy that carried the Habs on his back in the playoffs and is now a bonafide rock star in Montreal now.
While Markov has been a Habs lifer and Gionta has the career experience and similar tenacity to that of Cammalleri, with the steps Cammalleri has taken in Montreal to move to the forefront of the organization, he’s the guy that makes most sense.