According to the Gazette's Pat Hickey this morning, the Canadiens approached veteran Andrei Markov about the team's vacant captaincy and were informed that he was not interested.
Who would blame him, really!
Markov, a perennial All-Star is a quiet type, preferring to do his talking on the ice and not after games. He might just be the most unquotable star ever to hit Montreal. He serves himself well being that way.
Considering the treatment afforded to the Canadiens' last captain who was not french speaking, it is not surprising that Markov, often inaudible in English, would say "Thanks, but no thanks!"
It's too bad. Had he wanted the captaincy, he would have been my choice. Many people felt the same.
The Canadiens have traditionally given players the vote in selecting their captain, but this season presents certain challenges on that front like few other seasons have. For starters, no one knows each other very well yet, making it a rather difficult task to identify an emerging leader. The organization might have chosen to sidestep tradition and remove the burden of choice from players due to these circumstances. It wouldn't be an altogether bad way to go for now.
Neither would be going captainless for 15 or 20 games. Let that leader emerge, and set a vote date for December 1. The team might opt to choose a select few, and rotate the "C", but I think that cheapens the captaincy notion more than some feel it already has been.
Noting the breaking story at Habs Inside Out this morning, I fired an e-mail off to Mike Boone asking him what his choice would be. Boone liked Markov initially as well. His replay: Josh Gorge (a favorite of his), Scott Gomez, and Mike Cammalleri.
I love Gorge for all that he is, but my guess is that he might not be comfortable in such a role for at least another season or two.
It might also be a tad daunting for Gomez as well. Big contract in hand and much to prove to a new fanbase, he's already got his hands full. So far in camp, since being in Montreal, Gomez is saying and doing all the right things that would foreshadow himself in that role. With Gomez, it might just be that enough pressure is enough pressure.
I like the idea of Cammalleri though, but I cannot yet pinpoint exactly why. It might just be that we are used to having a small combative forward leading the club in scoring while wearing the "C". There are less worries offensively concerning Cammalleri, and I get the feeling it might not cramp his style as much. Again, I'm not sure why, as I know so little about the player. Call it a hunch.
I have similar feeling about Brian Gionta, especially after reading what coach Martin had to say about his leadership the past few days. Martin seemed to be propping up Gionta's candidacy after taking a liking to him. He had this to say about his player.
"Gionta leads by example more than by words. Others speak to make their presence felt. There needs to be balance between the two sometimes for players to find their comfort zone. For quiet leadership, there was no better example than Bob Gainey. I remember in Salt Lake City (Olympics 2002) that our three best players were Lemieux, Sakic and Yzerman; three guys that didn't say much. They did their talking on the ice. That is how Gionta can excercise his leadership."
What are your thoughts?