Hello, EOTP faithful (and trolls)!
This is my first attempt at writing anything for this site. I've been reading and occasionally commenting for a couple of years now. I started coming here right around the tail end of the Randypuck era (RIP) and I have enjoyed being part of such a vibrant, intelligent community that shares my passion for all things bleu blanc et rouge.
I was reading some comments earlier today that centered around selecting a new captain once Brian Gionta is gone. This is a completely pointless endeavor because Brian Gionta will continue to be the team captain until at least 2020 when he retires with four Stanley Cup rings and his jersey is raised in a tear-filled ceremony at the Bell Centre. Everyone on the team will grow a goatee to show their support (Except Chucky who will still be unable to grow facial hair of any kind).
Nonetheless, I get the feeling that these discussions are more about favorite players than anything else. I mean, what criteria do we as fans use to choose a captain? We aren't in the room with the players, so our eye into who leads the team is based on what we see on the ice and the snippets that are provided to us from the MSM, who are largely a collection of inebriated, agenda driven, shock-jocks that tell us more about which players they like than which players are actually leaders.
So, instead of trying to pretend choosing a captain is an objective process, let's talk about something we can all agree is highly subjective. Who is your favorite player and why?
Before everyone immediately says "Chris Nilan!", let's break the discussion into a few categories. I think favorite players change over time for various reasons, maybe the biggest of which being your age and when you first stated watching hockey. When I think of my own favorite player, I have to differentiate between current players and former players and it's often difficult to compare the two. So here are a few categories, and I'll list my favorites and why I chose them.
Favorite Current player: Tomas Plekanec
It's a tough choice right now, because there are a lot of very good players on the current Habs team. It's tough to overlook guys like Subban, Pacioretty and Price who, along with guys like Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Eller and others, will no doubt move up the ranks as they continue to play (and hopefully win) for the team. But Plekanec has been such an important player for Montreal over the years and many of us are just now beginning to appreciate how important he is. He does everything and he does it wearing a turtleneck, for god's sake. I can't even handle a simple task like rec'ing one of Matla's gifs while wearing a turtleneck. The guy deserves a medal (Plekanec, not Matla. Although, being American, maybe we can give him a silver).
Favorite Childhood player: Patrick Roy
I have a feeling this one is going to be dominated by a couple of choices, although your age will certainly play a part. I started watching the Habs when I was around 11 years old (1990-91). Patrick Roy was the face of the franchise at the time and the undisputed best player on the team. Only a couple of years into my fan journey I watched as Roy dominated in the playoffs and led the Habs to a glorious 10 overtime victories and earned himself the Conn Smythe trophy as the Habs lifted the Cup for the last time that any of us have been lucky to witness. I'm still not even sure I have come to terms with the devastation I felt when he was eventually traded. I think it explains my difficulty with relationships. One minute things are going great and the next minute she leaves me and moves to Colorado. Alas, I still have a binder that is filled with over 300 Patrick Roy hockey cards and not a goddamn one is in an Avs jersey.
Favorite Historical player: Saku Koivu
I hesitated before choosing Roy as my favorite childhood player because Saku was a close second. While there is a small overlap in both players tenures as Habs, I think Koivu's contributions picked up mostly after Roy had already gone and acted for a time as a salve to help heal the burn. Sure, it was like putting aloe vera on a charred corpse, but it was something. Koivu was not big and not particularily flashy, but he had incredible hockey sense and he showed up every game. He was the closest thing the Habs have had to a point-a-game player in almost two decades and were it not for all the injuries he'd probably have pushed his name up the ranks in a few Habs stat categories. Did anyone manage to keep their eyes dry when he returned from cancer? The only Habs jersey I own is a Saku Koivu one and it hangs proudly on my wall.
Now it's up to you guys (and gals). Tell me who your favorite players are and have been. I'm looking forward to not just the whos but the whys as well. Will you choose players with long careers in a Habs jersey or others who played a shorter time with a great impact? Do you go for skill or character (Please, Marc Bergevin, you need not respond)? Maybe your favorite player wasn't even a Hab? Although in that case, fuck you!