September 16, 2010
In our debates about captaincy in the NHL lately, one factor that hasn't been stressed enough is stability. If you're going to redistribute the 'C', you're not going to give it to a player that's one year away from unrestricted free agency.
The Montreal Canadiens have exactly four players signed through 2013: Scott Gomez(notes), Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec(notes) and Brian Gionta(notes). Say you were going to select a new captain from that group. Gomez is a flake, so he's out. Plekanec doesn't scream captain material. That leaves Cammalleri and Gionta, and according to Le Presse (via TSN) it'll be the 5-foot-7 (listed) pride of Rochester, NY, Brian Gionta getting the captaincy:
Gionta would become the 28th captain in the club's 101-year history and only the second American-born player to formally wear the 'C' since Chris Chelios co-captained the club in 1989.
If it's Gionta, the Habs would have a veteran player (31) who's out there in all situations on the ice and has a ring with the New Jersey Devils. That he can fit into a Matchbox car is icing on the cake.
The other candidates? Cammalleri led by example in the playoffs, and merited consideration; but who knows what he brings to the room. Defenseman Andrei Markov(notes) is a fantastic candidate, but he's an unrestricted free agent next summer. Defenseman Josh Gorges(notes) has potential, but he's too green. Then there's Carey Price(notes) and ... well, that trend's probably over. Even if the captaincy would have been a new and exciting way to further burden Price with expectations.
(Ed. Note: Deleted a line about Price speaking French here. Author brainfart.)
And as much as it shouldn't be, speaking French has been a tumultuous issue in the past for Habs captains like Saku Koivu(notes). Whether Gionta does or does not dabble in French, he's an American captaining the Canadiens. This should provide ample fodder for the French press, which is already having to deal with political buffoonery over that nationalistic issue.
So considering the candidates, his credentials and what you want out of a Montreal captain, what are your thoughts if the 'C' goes to Capt. Smurf? (We are saving the rest of our height jokes for the Habs preview later today.)
Pass or Fail: Brian Gionta as Montreal Canadiens captain.