Monday, July 6, 2009

Who will lead them?

Well the Montreal Canadiens roster officially got trimmed by one more player.

Despite a “rally of the masses” on Sunday afternoon at the Bell Centre, Habs GM Bob Gainey told CJAD radio on Monday that Alex Kovalev would not be returning.

 Fans rallied Sunday to keep Alex Kovalev in Montreal

Hours later, Kovalev took the money ($10 million over two years) and ran up the highway to Ottawa Senators.

The Northeast Division will be fun to watch this season without a doubt.

With Kovalev’s departure and the likely signing of Saku Koivu to either Buffalo, Atlanta, Anaheim or whatever square Eklund’s rumor dart hit this afternoon, this leaves the captain and all assistant captains off to greener pastures.

Mike Komisarek defected to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1 and Christopher Higgins was traded to the New York Rangers on June 30.

The question now has to be asked, who will be the next captain?

Andrei Markov has been an assistant captain in the past but is unlikely as a captain.

You have to remember that Koivu was criticized for not speaking French. Markov can barely speak English so it’s safe to rule him out.

The Kostitsyn brothers??? Georges Laraque ??? Forget it!

Scott Gomez seems to be an early popular choice, despite not playing one game for the Canadiens.

Sorry Mr. Gomez, but there’s too much tradition to just walk in and take the “C”.

Ditto for Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.

All likelihood two of these three will be alternate captains.

Young bucks Josh Gorges, Maxim Lapierre and maybe Guillaume Latendresse would be a good choices as an alternate captains in my opinion, but I feel none of this trio is at a full leadership level.

Roman Hamrlik is the long-time veteran on the team, but could be moved before the start of the season.

In any event, the Canadiens have never gone without a captain in their history.

1262a-Jean-Beliveau Jean Beliveau is the Canadiens’ longest serving captain

Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios alternated months in the 1989-90 season when the team vote was as close as the Quebec Referendum vote.

The captaincy of the Montreal Canadiens has always been voted on by the players, so ultimately it will be up to the final roster when it is set sometime in late September.

The players may elect to go a shared route in the 2009-10 season.

Either way, that individual is the go-to man by the fans and media of a team with 100 years of history, and 16 years and counting without a Stanley Cup.

Preferably I want a long standing captain like Koivu (win or lose), and not a revolving door that we saw in the mid-90’s.

But let’s not rule out the current captain just yet, shall we?

List of Montreal Canadiens Captains

Jack Laviolette           1909-10 Emile Bouchard                    1948-56
Newsy Lalonde            1910-11 Maurice Richard                   1956-60
Jack Laviolette           1911-12 Doug Harvey                        1960-61
Newsy Lalonde            1912-13 Jean Beliveau                       1961-71
Jimmy Gardner           1913-15 Henri Richard                       1971-75
Howard McNamara      1915-16 Yvan Cournoyer                    1975-79
Newsy Lalonde            1916-22 Serge Savard                       1979-81
Sprague Cleghorn        1922-25 Bob Gainey                          1981-89
Billy Coutu                  1925-26 G. Carbonneau/C. Chelios    1989-90
Sylvio Mantha             1926-32 Guy Carbonneau                   1990-94
George Hainsworth     1932-33 Kirk Muller                           1994-95
Sylvio Mantha             1933-36 Mike Keane          Apr – Dec       1995
Albert “Babe” Seibert  1936-39 Pierre Turgeon                     1995-96
Walter Buswell            1939-40 Vincent Damphousse             1996-99
Hector “Toe” Blake     1940-48 Saku Koivu                           1999-??
Bill Durnan    Jan – Apr      1948  

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