Hey all, I know I said my next blog was going to be about Sergei Kostitsyn, but I saw a video yesterday that bumped Sergei down a rung. Sorry Sergei, looks like you'll have to wait one more week!
Ok, so down to business...well, believe it or not, training camp is now less than two months away and it is looking, and sounding more and more like the Montreal Canadiens will skate with three assistant captains this year rather than naming a captain outright. Personally, I think that this is a great idea. The Montreal Canadiens are a prestigious organization and as such, being the captain of this organization is not something to be taken lightly. By that I mean that I, as a fan, would rather see them wait to see who emerges as a leader, rather than having a captain just for the sake of having a captain. The 2010 Habs are a drastically made-over team who's on-ice identity remains to be seen, and who have a clear leadership void. That being said, I believe that there are some great players on this team that are ready to step into that void.
Until recently, I thought that Markov was the frontrunner to become the team captain. But the more I think about it, the more I think he might not be the best choice. The problem with Markov is that he is not very comfortable in front of the cameras and media hordes. There is no question that Markov let's his playing do his talking, but being the captain of the Habs means that there are a lot of off-ice responsibilities too. With Markov's tendancy to shy away from attention, and his tenuous grasp on the English language (not to mention his non-existant grip on French), he seems like he might be better suited to the assistant captain position instead.
One name that I never thought of for the captaincy position, but who I now believe has a great chance of becoming that team leader, is Mike Cammalleri. My opinion on Mike developed the other day, when I saw an interview with him that is posted on the Hockey News web site. Here, take a look for youself:
After watching this interview and listening to Mike speak, I realized that he is first of all a smart, well-spoken individual, but more importantly he doesn't give the same, tired responses that most hockey players do. He actually has something to say. Instead of the standard "...I'm going to give it my 110%..." cliches that we are so used to hearing, Mike actually talks about what he feels, how he sees thing, who he'd like to play with, without over promising and without overextending himself. I find him to be a breathe of fresh air.
The second thing that I think Cammalleri has going for him, is that he spent the last season playing with Jarome Iginla, captain of the Calgary flames. You'll notice, in his interview, that Cammalleri mentions that he learned a lot from playing with Iginla. I think that in addition to learning a lot about the hockey side of things, from Iginla, that Cammalleri perhaps learned what it takes to be a true leader - which Iginla definitely is.
I could be wrong, but I get a sense, from his interview, that Cammalleri knows there is an opportunity for him to become a leader, and maybe even captain, on this team. Watching the interview, you hear him sounding like a leader, sounding like a guy would could become the voice of a dressing room. That plus his 5 year deal, make me think that this is a man who is committed to making things happen in Montreal, and maybe also committed to making a push to fill those big shoes that Saku left behind.