Canadiens to name captain before season begins
Last year's alternates Plekanec, Markov, Pacioretty, Subban prime candidates
The Montreal Canadiens will soon have a new captain.
General manager Marc Bergevin said Thursday that a captain will be named by the end of training camp, ending the committee system used last season.
He gave no hint of who it may be or how the selection process will work. Last season, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov served as alternate captains, while Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban shared the third A.
Bergevin said that when former captain Brian Gionta and alternate Josh Gorges were let go after the 2013-'14 campaign, it left a leadership void. He didn't want to make a rash decision on a new captain, preferring to see how things worked out with four alternates.
"From what we saw last year from a leadership standpoint, we feel comfortable going forward that this team is ready for a captain," said Bergevin. "I'm not hiding anything.
"We have a plan in place and the details, how it's done, you will know. There won't be any secrets."
If goaltenders were allowed to be captains, there's little doubt that Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price would be the first choice. But NHL rules bar goalies from wearing the C.
Price, who will remain a key voice on the team even without a letter on his jersey, supports naming a new captain.
"I think it's good for our team just to have that guy to kind of be the face of the team," said Price. "We've said it before that leadership is a group thing. It's a committee and it will continue to be that way."
The four alternates from last season, and perhaps a dark horse like plucky right-winger Brendan Gallagher, are prime candidates.
"With the history of wearing the C in Montreal, it's a tremendous honour," Pacioretty said. "I'd gladly accept that, but if they choose to go another way I'm all for that.
"This is a team sport. A letter on your jersey means a lot but you still have to be a great teammate and lead no matter what."