Habs to play without captain for just second time in franchise history

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The Montreal Canadiens had a tough decision to make with four legit candidates for their vacant captaincy.

The decision was so tough, in fact, that Montreal kinda didn’t make one.

On Monday, the Habs announced that nobody would wear the “C” this year, rather comprising a leadership group made up of alternate captains P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.

The new quartet takes over from Brian Gionta, who signed in Buffalo this summer after serving as captain since 2010-11 — which came on the heels of the the inaugural vacancy. During the 2009-10 campaign, Montreal went captain-less for the first time ever, opting to leave the “C” open following Saku Koivu’s lengthy stint (Koivu was Montreal’s captain for 10 years, tying Jean Beliveau for longest tenure in club history.)

Today’s announcement of the Subban-Markov-Plekanec-Pacioretty leadership quartet has already drawn some criticism:

Further complicating things is that only three players can wear the “A” during a game — so Habs GM Marc Bergevin has broken down the assignments:

— Markov and Plekanec, the two veterans of the group, will serve as alternates for all 82 games this season.

— For the first 41 games of the season, Subban wears the “A” for home games and Pacioretty for road games.

— For the final 41 games of the season, Pacioretty wears the “A” at home and Subban on the road.

With today’s development, Montreal remains one of six NHL clubs currently without a captain. The others are San Jose, Ottawa, Florida, Buffalo, Columbus and the New York Rangers.