Wednesday, August 5, 2009
IN SEARCH OF THE RIGHT "C"
Two longstanding C's. (Photo taken from habsinsideout.com)
It’s summer, the weather is finally starting to get warmer, and here I am thinking about hockey. The loss of all of our unrestricted free agents, as well as Chris Higgins, was a bit of a shocker, at least to me, and I had resorted to ignoring hockey for a little while. I needed to sort out how I felt about the team, and to be honest, I’m still not so sure. They sure aren’t the Montreal Canadiens we knew and loved anymore, not without Saku or Kovalev, even Komisarek and Higgins. But for the first time in a long time, we actually got some players when the free agent market opened, but what that means is still unclear to me. Right now our team seems like a bunch of randomly chosen players that don’t seem to fit together in any plausible way. We are all hoping that chemistry forms between some of the newcomers, and that Mike Cammalleri finds a way to repeat his great season, but I’m trying to keep my expectations low, because on the off chance they do have chemistry, I wouldn’t mind being surprised by it. It’s sure better than being disappointed if things don’t go our way.
There is something worrying me though, and that is the fact that Jacques Martin is at least entertaining the possibility of not having a captain. I think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. He claims that it worked in Florida and on some other teams, and so it may be an option for Montreal. Did it really work though? Florida didn’t win a cup... so not really. They didn’t even make the playoffs. In my opinion, there needs to be a set leader. Without one, there will be no one who sets an example, no one to talk to players who are having difficulty, no one to step up in the room after a bad period, and no one to make everyone feel like part of the team. Even with co-captains, I think that it wouldn’t work as well. It would cause decision-making to take longer, and I feel as though it would be more of a hindrance to have two opinions in that type of situation than a help. So a little obsessively, I decided to see how right he was right by compiling some data. In NHL history (but only including the current NHL teams), there have been 101 occasions where there was no captain or more than one captain. On only 3 of those occasions have teams ever won a Stanley Cup. Twice it was the Bruins, in 69-70 and 71-72 who had no captain, and once was the Flames in 88-89 who had Co-Captains. For both the Bruins’ cups they had Bobby Orr... No offense to Gomez or Gionta, or any of the rest of the newcomers, but none of them even come near to the point totals or plus/minus he had, and he was a defenceman! We can’t compare exactly, because clearly the league was different 40 years ago, but still, no one compares to him. So if that is the case, how can we even think that we can get far without a captain!
The question is... who? Personally, I think that it should be Markov. Despite the language barrier, he is clearly a player that all the others look up to. His English is not bad at all, and if they make Lapierre and Gorges alternate captains, the entire city would be happy and Markov wouldn’t have to do as many interviews, since they could take care of a lot of them for him. There is no one else left. Some are suggesting Gomez, but I really don’t think that would be good. He’s new in town and doesn’t yet know the pressure that the Montreal fans and more importantly the media provide. Markov is our best player. He loves Montreal. He’s not a fan of change so would want to stay here for a while. He’s a good person. Whoever has to fill Saku’s shoes is in for a challenge. I think Markov is the man for the job.