If you were to walk into the Montreal Canadiens locker room after any given game, and you didn't know any of the players, you would immediately assume that P.K. Subban is the captain.
He greets the media after every game, and holds the fort for as long as any reporter cares to talk to him. He's open, gives fantastic answers, and generally tries to shoulder the blame if anything goes wrong.
Of course, that's not the only criteria to consider when picking a new captain.
Respect is a big one, as is commanding leadership. Not demanding it, commanding it. In my experience, great leaders shouldn't have to beg for hard work, nor do they have to crack the whip every single day. They lead by example, and intervene when it's needed.
Let's take a look at some of the candidates for the new captain of the Habs.
The fact of the matter is that if Markov was interested in being a captain, he would have the C sewn on his jersey many years ago. He's more comfortable in a support role, and seeing as he's definitely not the most vocal player in the locker room, the alternate role suits him.
Despite his tender age, many are pushing for the young Edmonton native to take up the vacant captaincy position. The truth is, he's probably not ready. That's not to say that naming a young captain is a bad idea, but when there is already a litany of veteran candidates in place, skipping them to pick a younger player could cause some issues. He's definitely the epitome of a hard-working hockey player, but I have my doubts as to whether or not a prominent leadership role is in the cards at this time.
There's not much to dislike about his game. He gives an honest effort every shift, and it's no secret that he's the cog that makes Montreal's offense roll. Without him, the Habs would rarely score. He can bounce back from an injury as if he was born in Cold Lake, Alberta, during the late 1880s, although we've yet to confirm that his bones are indeed fused with adamantium.
Despite a rocky start with the media, Pacioretty has learned to say all the right things, and clearly commands the respect of his teammates. A fine choice for the next captain of the Canadiens.
Much like Markov, Plekanec seems to be best-suited for an auxiliary leadership role. He's not very vocal, although his presence on the ice is enough to understand why players look up to him. He'll never be the one to yell the loudest, but he will be the one to try the hardest. In fact, it's rare that we spot anyone other than Plekanec hit the ice first for practice.
There are few players in the NHL that care about results as much as Subban. When things go well, he's quick to compliment his teammates, when things go badly he's quick to absorb the blame. In the long run, what really defines him, is that he's obsessed with winning. He always wants to be better, and consequently pushes his teammates to do the same. Despite going through some growing pains, as does every player in the NHL, Subban has flourished into a much calmer presence on the ice. That's not to mention his endless work for various charities off the ice, which is something "The Captain" would be proud of if he hadn't joined heaven's All-Star Team last year.
He won't be named captain, because it's not allowed anymore, but the truth is he's the true captain of this team, and that won't change once someone else is officially given the C on his jersey.
We won't have to wait long before knowing which player will receive the honour of being the 29th captain in Montreal Canadiens history. And thankfully, once that takes place, we probably won't have to talk about captaincy for many years, because frankly the subject is starting to become quite tedious.
As it stands, it's probably safe to presume that Pacioretty will get the nod, but we'll leave that debate up to you. Make sure to cast your vote, and discuss your choice in the comments below.