Captain Nick – Young, Yes, But Ready

By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens have announced that they have named Nick Suzuki as the team’s 31st captain of their history. He takes over the reigns from a great leader in Shea Weber, whom the Canadiens’ center take the time to call prior to accepting the captaincy. Weber apparently told Suzuki that he was ready to take on that role… and from the reaction on social media, few think otherwise.

I will admit that a part of me would have liked to see long-time Habs’ leader, Brendan Gallagher, get the honour, but Suzuki did an amazing sell job for the position. In fact, he convinced me that he is ready to be the captain of this team back in April. Reading some of the comments from his teammates, they seem to agree.

Suzuki, who just turned 23 last month, becomes the youngest captain in team history. He was acquired on September 10, 2018, in the trade that saw then captain Max Pacioretty heading to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Canadiens also received Tomas Tatar and a second round pick from Vegas in that trade.

Two veterans will be helping the new captain next season, as the Canadiens also announced that Joel Edmundson and Gallagher will wear the “A” as alternate-captains.

Brendan Gallagher, Nick Suzuki, Joel Edmundson

Youngest captains

I’ve done a bit of research and here are some young men who have been named captains around the NHL over the years.

Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
19 years, 266 days

“You see every single night he goes out there and leads by example. He’s not afraid to say something when it needs to be said. For everyone in the room, he’s a great example of how you go out there and play every night. He takes it to a new level and definitely brings energy every night that we can feed off of.” ~ Darnell Nurse when McDavid was named captain

Vincent Lecavalier – Tampa Bay Lightning
19 years, 315 days

Vinny was the franchise’s first captain and he was also the first to lift the Stanley Cup over his head in Tampa Bay. Now working for the Canadiens, and former teammate of head coach Martin St-Louis, he certainly can serve as reference and vouch that young players can do that job.

Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado Avalanche
20 years, 57 days

Hard worker, gritty, level-headed and definitely talented are some of Landeskog’s best qualities. And it’s not the talent that lacks on that team yet, he’s the team captain and was at a very young age. His leadership has never been contested in Colorado or across the NHL.

Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
20 years, 59 days

Like McDavid, Crosby is a generational talent but more than that, he’s an amazing leader. Ask anyone who has played with him in Pittsburgh and they all say the same. Selfless, he helps others on and off the ice, and make people around him better.

“I promise to play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back.” ~ Sidney Crosby

Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
20 years, 164 days

Captain serious is his nickname, but no one will ever doubt his dedication and how good of a captain Toews has been throughout his career, even at the very beginning. Some people are born leaders. He’s one of them.

With that out of the way, we can now focus on the rookie camp which starts on Wednesday as some of the teams’ top prospects will be hitting the ice, trying to impress the Habs’ brass. Fans and players are itching to get going again, after what seems like a very long break, particularly following two shortened off-seasons due to COVID.

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HabsTracks – Father’s Day 2022

By JD Lagrange – HabsTracks is a review, retracing the recent hot topics. This week, we’re looking at the NHL Draft, an update on Josh Anderson, Jonathan Drouin, Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Evgenii Dadonov, Logan Mailloux, the new captain’s announcement, amongst other things. Please feel free to comment and share with your friends.

In an interview in French on 91.9 Sports radio, VP of Communications Chantal Machabée revealed some very interesting information. First, on Logan Mailloux, she mentioned that he is rehabilitating from a shoulder surgery and she will be meeting with him in Montreal sometime next week. On the topic of meeting with the media and the discussions not being only about hockey, she had this to say:

“It’s clear, but one thing at a time. Yes, eventually, he will certainly have to talk to the media. We’re aware of that. But we will meet him first, talk to him. He is also a hockey player and we have to see where he’s at in his personal development, but also where he’s at as a hockey player”, said Machabée. “We will talk to his agent. We will do things right, step by step. We are told that Logan is doing exceptional work. I’m anxious to be able to talk to him and see how we can work with him”, she continued.

Machabée spoke about the Canadiens’ latest addition, Evgenii Dadonov and what he can bring to the table.

“He’s an offensive player. He’s a guy who has scored around 20 goals for many seasons. At 33, he’s a veteran. So he can likely help our younger players, and I see his arrival as a good thing”, said Machabée.

Chantal was asked if his acquisition had anything to do with helping Alexander Romanov, by adding another Russian player, to help deal with the event surrounding the Russia and Ukraine war. The former reporter had this to say:

“It’s a plus, but I don’t think it was on Kent [Hughes]’s list of things to do. It’s a coincidence. We know that the Golden Knights tried to trade him before and his name was mentioned in the discussions with Kent”, she added.

Josh Anderson

Several players are spending the summer in Montreal. Romanov spends the majority of the summer in town. Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Josh Anderson also are spending the off-season in Montreal. Anderson explained his decision:

“I’ll spend a lot more time in Montreal this summer. I really want to know the City. I’m always told that it’s fun in the summer with the Jazz Festival, F1 and so on. I want to soak in this City and finally get to know it. Since I’ve been traded, there was COVID and we couldn’t go out. We then had a very condensed schedule. I never had the opportunity to take advantage of what Montreal has to offer. I want to do it now”, said Anderson.

Machabée provided a short update on Jonathan Drouin.

“Jo is in Montreal. Let’s not forget that he has a new baby, a little boy born this past winter. The last I have heard, when I spoke to him, Jo had his hands full with a baby who wasn’t sleeping though the night. He is full time dad these days”, she explained.

The VP of Communications said that the coaching staff will be in Montreal the week of the NHL Draft, the first week of July. The priority will obviously be the Draft but they will discuss the best candidates to become the Canadiens’ next captain.

“It pretty clear that naming a new captain won’t happen this week. At least, I doubt it. Everyone will take part of that discussion. The coaching staff will make that decision. It’s not going to be Kent Hughes coming in tomorrow morning and name a captain. Every coach will participate in the discussion and they will analyze everything”, said Machabée.

She hinted that an new captain announcement during the Canadiens’ annual Golf Tournament on September 12th would make a lot of sense…

Pierre LeBrun recently stated that five or six teams have contacted the Canadiens for Jeff Petry. Things appear to be heating up and it could be a matter of days before the disgruntled defenseman can join in family permanently in the states.

Shea Weber’s contract has been traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in a cap clearing (long term) move. Weber has this to say:

There are only a few days left to take advantage of our online store’s Grand Opening, so hurry up! Be proud to show that you are cheering for the logo in front more than the name(s) in the back!

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