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Should the Montreal Canadiens choose their next captain by a player vote?

Bob Gainey Saku Koivu Georges Laraque

Montreal Canadiens coach Bob Gainey stands behind Georges Laraque, left, and Saku Koivu, as he looks up at the clock during the final minutes of their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 11, 2009 in Montreal. The Penguins beat the Canadiens 3-1. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson)


Puck-based change (and all the naive optimism that comes with it) is in the air as training camp arrives this week for most NHL teams. Some will tell you that one of the biggest choices that many franchises face involves placing a “C” on the jersey of a deserving captain.

While the journey to find a new captain to replace Roberto Luongo in Vancouver has been well-publicized, the Montreal Canadiens still need an official leader since Saku Koivu departed. Playmaking center Scott Gomez thinks that it isn’t that big of a deal, but Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette disagrees.

Fisher also suggests a method of finding a new captain that reaches all the way back to the days of Jean Beliveau and “Boom Boom” Geoffrion: let the players vote for the captain.

Head coach Jacques Martin says he will name a captain before the Canadiens open the regular season after discussions with other off-ice officials. Bad move. Coaches and/or general managers don’t select captains. Players do. It’s the players who know better than any coach which player they want as a leader on and off the ice. I can’t think of a single instance when Canadiens players were not asked to vote for their captain.

Then again, Fisher wrote that a Habs vote that gave Beliveau the captaincy left Geoffrion in tears - a hockey player in an even tougher era who popularized the slapshot, for goodness sakes - so it’s far from a fool-proof concept. While it would be vaguely charming to imagine Hal Gill weeping into his gloves after he lost hockey’s version of Homecoming King, I think it might be best if coach Martin simply makes the best choice possible.

Or maybe they should just wait until the choice is obvious again ... as long as it’s not Carey Price.