The Montreal Canadiens have opted to go with four alternate captains rather than giving one player the C.
The club announced Monday that defencemen Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban and forwards Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all be alternate captains this season.
Only three will wear the "A" at any time. Veterans Markov and Plekanec are to have it every game, but Subban and Pacioretty will wear the "A" alternately — Subban at home games and Pacioretty on the road for the first half of the season.
They will switch for the second half of the campaign.
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Last season's captain Brian Gionta signed with the Buffalo Sabres in the off-season, and his successor was a hotly debated issue among fans and media.
General manager Marc Bergevin said it was important to make a decision on the captaincy before the start of training camp so that it did not become a distraction.
"It's not the end of the world," he said. "The way we're going will be good for our team."
He also wanted to ease Subban and Pacioretty, the team's top younger stars, into leadership roles. A decision on whether to appoint a full-time captain will be made next summer.
"It'll be a transition year as far as leadership," Bergevin said at the club's annual charity golf tournament. "When Gionta and (Josh) Gorges left, there was a gap and I felt our young players were able to step up.
"It's a chance for them to show their leadership. We feel we picked the right guys."
Pacioretty and Subban are both happy with the arrangement.
"I consider P.K. a very close friend and an unbelievable player, so it's an honour for me to share a letter with him," said Pacioretty. "We have so many guys in this room who can step up and be leaders, so this is a good feeling right now."
Added Subban: "We're confident that we have many leaders, not just one. I think it's a step forward for the team. And this way, it's not a distraction."
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