According to TVA Sports, RDS and La Presse, the Montreal Canadiens will enter the 2014-2015 NHL regular season without a captain.
Former captain Brian Gionta’s contract with the Canadiens expired in the summer, leading to him signing a three-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are also without a captain at the moment.
Canadiens management did announce who would be wearing the “A” for the season, naming defencemen Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban, as well as forwards Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.
Markov, 35, is often referred to as “The General” by Canadiens fans. Markov is looked upon by man as the veteran leader but there has been talk that Markov has turned down the C in the past. Whether he has or not, it’s clear that all of the Habs listen to Markov on the bench and in the dressing room. He is a calming influence on the team. If he isn’t wearing the C for his final years as a Hab, it’s likely he wanted a younger player to step up into the role and for he to mentor them.
Subban, 25, is the one Montreal Canadien with the most job security. Signed to an eight year contract worth an AAV of $9 million, Subban is the highest paid Montreal Canadien of all time. A former Norris trophy winner, Subban was the spark the Canadiens needed in game seven against the Boston Bruins in the 2014 NHL playoffs, remarking, “I can’t wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building. I can’t wait to take it all away from them.” That sort of bravado and confidence is what you want to find in your leader. While there has been judgments on Subban’s overall maturity, it should go without saying that a player with his energy and passion is a perfect fit for a city like Montreal. Whether or not he wears the C in the 2015-2016 NHL regular season depends on how he plays with the weight of a brand new contract on his shoulders. He is the only player born in Canada wearing an A in the upcoming season.
Plekanec, 31, has rarely worn a letter on his chest during his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens. Their go-to pivot at center for shutdown tasks and top line shadowing, Tomas Plekanec is a jack of all trades on the ice. Despite not playing with the best wingers at times, Plekanec is always consistent scoring wise. He’s an underrated goal scorer in the league, putting up seven 20 goal seasons in nine (one season being the lockout shortened season). While Plekanec rarely wears a letter in Montreal, he was captain of the Czech Republic men’s national team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The biggest question mark on Plekanec being a leader for the Canadiens probably comes from last playoffs, when Plekanec twice made obvious attempts to fake a high stick to the referee. One he got away with, the second he got caught.
Pacioretty, 25, talked with NHL.com about his desire to be Montreal Canadiens captain and that he would proudly accept the honour or stand by whomever received it. Pacioretty is without a doubt the best goal scorer on the Canadiens, firing 39 pucks into the twine last season. The left winger from New Canaan, Connecticut has had an arduous journey with the Canadiens. Not only had he dealt with the injury from Zdeno Chara in 2010-2011 but Pacioretty also had a difficult time finding his spot on the Canadiens early on in his career, asking to be sent to the AHL if he wasn’t going to receive top six minutes with the main club. Pacioretty has been usually attached at the hip with center David Desharnais, whom he has had chemistry with since his time in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs. A stoic leader, Pacioretty has one of the best contracts in the NHL for a 30 plus goal scorer, despite what a terrible article at CBC.ca may have claimed.
In the upcoming year, Max Pacioretty will wear the A on the road while Subban will wear his A at home. The two will switch after 41 games. Plekanec and Markov will always wear the A on the games they play. According to head coach Michel Therrien, if he could put an A on goaltender Carey Price he would. Price will still be included in all off-ice meetings with alternate captains.
Photo by Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
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