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O Captain, Where Art Thou?

Pierre Gauthier met the media yesterday and his words on the captaincy were interesting. Gauthier acknowledged that a captain will be named before the season begins, and he seemed to praise, amongst others, Mike Cammalleri for his leadership last season. Gauthier also noted that the Canadiens had a better idea of their identity and, after last season’s playoff run, what they are able to accomplish. Personally, I wish people had probed more on the idea of change – after all, the Canadiens changed most of their scouting department, their assistant GM, their strength and conditioning coach, and due to Guy Boucher’s leaving much of the AHL organization changed as well. Gauthier did mention this and said it was normal when coaches leave for many different positions in that realm to shift.

Fair enough.

But why all the scouting changes? Gauthier was Gainey assistant for many years – if all these changes needed to be made, why didn’t Gainey make them? If Gauthier is the camel, what was the straw? The Canadiens draft record has, for the past few years, been fairly strong: no super stars, but many solid NHLers. Why make such sweeping changes to amateur scouting when this is the case?

And why was Lorne Goldberg fired after just one season doing strength conditioning the Habs? Did I miss a rash of serious injuries? Seemed pretty strong and conditioned to me (ok, sans Markov).

Gauthier is a wily fellow. He likes to avoid questions when he can, and like his predecessor, he is anything but media friendly. This isn’t a new normal, after all Gainey liked to avoid direct answers as well. But wouldn’t it, for once, be nice to just get some solid, basic answers and descriptions of why decisions have been made?

As for the captaincy, the media seems to have narrowed the list to four: Cammalleri, Markov, Gionta, Gorges. If Markov really said no to the idea last year, I have to think he’s off the list. Gorges, probably my choice, is still looked at as fairly young in some circles. That leaves Gionta, who played under many great leaders through his New Jersey playing days, and the aforementioned Cammalleri.

We’ll know soon enough.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cammalleri, gauthier, gionta, scouting

Comments

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Maybe they want that all-star draft pick? Tough to do when you always make the playoffs.

Whenever you get new leadership, they can’t do their job unless they get to pick the key postiions beneath them. Its fairly normal to have this kind of overhaul. That being said, your strength and conditioning guy usually isn’t a “leadership” position that would be up for review.

And I like Gionta. It’ll be him or Cammy. (For the reasons you stated, I think you can rule out Markov and Gorges)

Posted by Jamphone on 09/14/10 at 01:09 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Definitely Gionta.  His dealings with the media (and especially the Canadiens media) were impressive…esp. with the unexpectedly wild run through the playoffs.  He kept his cool.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 09/14/10 at 01:30 PM ET

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I think Gionta is the front-runner (based on your list and Gauthier’s comments from yesterday). It’s not going to be Markov, and as you mentioned, Gorges is likely a bit too young. Cammy would also make a fine captain, but Gionta seems like the better fit. He’s very level-headed and seems comfortable with the media. (That last one is a must-have in Montreal.)

Posted by Briney on 09/14/10 at 02:22 PM ET

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I should add that I strongly believe, as I mentioned in August, that the players should elect the captain themselves. There is a great Red Fisher column on just that topic this morning. It can be found here:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/players+pick+captain/3520542/story.html

Interestingly, the banner on the Bell Centre features Markov, Gionta, Cammalleri, Price, Plekanec and Gorges. Logic would suggest one of these guys is the new captain.

My hope is still for Gorges. More than anything, I just hope they don’t pull a Vancouver and name Price. That wouldn’t work out too well, I don’t think.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 09/14/10 at 02:26 PM ET

SYF's avatar

TSN reporting what La Presse has posted.

It’s Gionta.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 09/16/10 at 05:49 PM ET

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Can’t say I’m surprised. And he’s a good choice if it’s true. I would suggest Gorges, Cammalleri and Gill would look good with A’s. But so would Markov.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 09/17/10 at 12:07 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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