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Report: Canadiens to name Gionta team captain

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TSN.ca Staff
9/16/2010 9:07:59 PM
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It appears that the 'C' has been settled in Montreal.

La Presse reports that the Canadiens will name veteran winger Brian Gionta as their captain as the club begins training camp for the 2010-11 season.

Gionta said he had not yet been informed of such a decision.

"No talks, just what you guys have heard with Mr. (GM Pierre)Gauthier last week, saying that a captain will be named," Gionta said on Thursday. "I woke up this morning to the newspaper, just like you guys did."

The Canadiens opted not to have a captain for their 2009-10 campaign after parting ways with Saku Koivu last summer and overhauling their roster. Gauthier confirmed on Monday that the team would have a new captain in place before the start of the regular season.

"There has been a process developing an identity for the club last season and the further we advanced (in the playoffs), the more people stepped in - it wasn't just a select group of players," he said. "We're going to get the end of the process before the start of the first game."

Habs head coach Jacques Martin also remained non-committal on the issue.

"When it comes to selecting a captain, we will continue our process, but what I think is most important is that you have to address your players first and we will continue our interviews with the players and then before the first game, we'll announce who the captain will be," Martin said.

Teammates seemed to approve of the idea.

"If it is Brian, that's great," said forward Mike Cammalleri. "You can look at his leadership on the ice and the way he plays the game, his work ethic and he's well liked by his teammates. There are a lot of good assets that would make Brian a good captain."

"If it is true, he deserves it," said teammate Scott Gomez. "He's a hard worker, he's great with the young guys, he's great with (the media)."

"There's no question that he would be a good captain," added defenceman Josh Gorges. "Playing against him, you see how hard he works. He's a small guy but he's one of the hardest guys in the league to play against. And to have him on your team, the way he carries himself, he's a true professional and he leads by example. He's not a rah-rah guy that's going to get in your face, but you watch the way he plays and the way he handles himself, you have no choice but to follow his lead."

While the selection of a non-French speaking American might be a problem for some in Quebec, Gionta does have the support of the last francophone who wore the ‘C' Vincent Damphousse.

"It doesn't make a difference to me, but I know he's probably going to hear some people that think that it should be a French Canadian," Damphousse told OTR.  "I don't think he should be worried about that, he should be worried about his role.

"It's a bonus if he can speak the language and talk to the fans and the media that are French, but it's not a requirement."

Gionta would become the 28th captain in the club's 101-year history and only the second American-born player to formally wear the 'C' since Chris Chelios co-captained the club in 1989.

Gionta, 31, joined the Canadiens last summer after signing a five-year, $25 million contract. In 61 games last season, he tallied 46 points and led the team with 28 goals.

"I'm just a quiet guy who does things by example. I just go out there and work hard and try to compete for my teammates night in and night out," said Gionta. "Everybody knows there is a core group of guys that kind of leads us and we have a lot of guys in that room that do a lot, so I think it's a group process." 

Brian Gionta (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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