Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/18/09 at 07:09 PM ET
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
On the subject of captains, Scott Gomez starts lessons with a French tutor on Friday. The connection between the language of Voltaire and a letter? Gomez, whose albatross of a seven-year, $51.5 million contract was taken off the New York Rangers’ hands, now is with the captain-less if not quite rudderless Montreal Canadiens.
The former Habs captain, Saku Koivu, was cuffed about in the French-language media for not knowing French. (English and Finnish were not deemed sufficient in the province. This was a perpetual thorn in the side of the classy Koivu, who now has a one-year deal in Anaheim.) Gomez is not the captain type—he says he hasn’t worn a C since youth hockey in Alaska—but then there are no obvious choices in Montreal.
After the departure of 10 unrestricted free agents, including Alex Kovalev and captain timber such as Mike Komisarek, defenseman Andrei Markov remains the best player, but he is hardly the fulcrum of the dressing room. There are no French-speaking players on the team with enough portfolio on the ice to get the letter, and newcomer Brian Gionta, an American, is an unknown there.
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