Oh Captain, My Captain….

brian gionta, new captain of the montreal canadiensO Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won…

….well not yet, but maybe soon.

Okay, perhaps adding a sprinkle of Walt Whitman is a little dramatic, but I am in a dramatic mood. The 28th Captain of the Montreal Canadiens has *finally* been announced. Brian Joseph Gionta will lead us to the promised land (as long as Carey Price fixes that glove hand, Kostitsyn starts being consistent, Pouliot wakes up, and the holes in our defense are patched up).

Why it took the Montreal Canadiens TWO WEEKS to officially agree with what François Gagnon reported is beyond me. Was it because they needed time to produce this video? Or was it that they actually didn’t know at the time. Either way, turns out my first prediction of the 2010/2011 season was wrong.

I was almost positive that the Habs wouldn’t end-up naming a captain. I really thought it was just a summer-time carrot they were using to bait fans into talking about something other than Carey Price being chosen over Jaroslav Halak.

As a fan with no actual hockey management skills, I am thrilled by this decision. The first time I ever really noticed Gionta play was when the Devil and Hurricane faced-off  in the quarter finals of the 2009 Playoffs. I was at my Dad’s house and my younger cousin was over. This cousin of mine is a big Devils fan. I can’t tell you why he loves the Devils so much, he just does. We’ve tried conversion therapy, we’ve tried aversion therapy, nothing works…he just loves the Devils. Anyhow, my Devil-loving cousin was over and so we were watching Game 4.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of Gionta. He was everywhere, he was in everyone’s face, he was in the goalie’s face, shift after shift this guy just kept on going….in short, he was playing the kind of hockey I only WISHED the Montreal Canadiens would play.

A mini-dream of sorts came true a few months later when he signed with the Canadiens as a free agent.

An NHL season is long. Over 82 regular season games, I can’t remember a single one that Gionta didn’t show that same tenacity I saw in that 2009 playoff game. The man is a mere 5’7″. I am taller than he is. I can’t imagine the work ethic that must be ingrained in his very soul to not only play at the NHL level but succeed at the NHL level.

It’s that outright ability to work hard day after day that makes Gionta a good choice. Sure, he’s good with the media, and yes, he makes he efforts in French, but that’s not what will make him a great Captain. It’s that when the Habs get on a losing skid, he will be able to stand up in front of the room and no one will be able to question Gionta’s lack of will.

I am a luck lady in that I have tickets to tomorrow night’s exhibition game.  I cannot wait to see our new captain take the ice for the first time. The Montreal Canadiens have an uncanny ability to make me cry during their in game ceremonies and I know I will be overwhelmed with emotion tomorrow night when the torch is passed to the 28th captain of our Montreal Canadiens.

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