As a fan one of the most frustrating things to watch is a player who does not give his 100% on the ice. This is one thing that we will not have to worry about when it comes to our newly appointed captain Brian Gionta. Montreal fans learned very quickly last season that Gionta was here to play and he was here to win. When Gionta hits the ice there is no denying his intentions, he wants to be involved in all aspects of the game and he wants to do whatever it takes to earn a victory.
Another asset of his game is that he seems to bring out the best in his teammates; Scott Gomez was simply not the same player last season when Gionta went down for 21 games with a broken foot. You can also make the same argument that Gomez was not the same player when he left the New Jersey Devils and signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers. Let's not forget that Gomez had his best career numbers while playing for the Devils on a line with Gionta. A second year of Gomez & Gionta together could produce some very interesting numbers especially if they both stay healthy and get consistent help on the left wing.
Some critics might question if he is the right person for the job but as he has proven on multiple occasions he is the little engine that could and his passion for the game should help him overcome anything that gets thrown at him during his captaincy. When the chips are down you can rest assured that his "never say die" attitude will help him lead the team by example.
Some may also ask if Gionta would have been selected captain if the players had voted as opposed to management making the decision, I for one believe that the answer would be a very big YES. All you have to do is read the body language of all of the players that were interviewed after the announcement and it becomes very apparent that they are genuinely happy for him and that they are 100% behind him.
Gionta is the smallest player on the team but you wouldn't know it when you watch him play, he can always be found hovering around the net looking for a juicy rebound, a tip in, a deflection or a one timer and if none of those work, he can always bat the puck out of the air in a spectacular fashion as we've seen him do last season. With over 500 games played in the NHL, 6 consecutive 20 plus goal seasons and let's not forget a Stanley cup ring, Gio has all the experience needed to be the leader of our beloved Habs. Not only does he have all of the experience needed but he has also earned the respect of all of his teammates, management, the League and last but not least the Montreal faithful.
The last Captain who wore number 21 was Guy Carbonneau; coincidentally he is also the last captain to lead the Canadiens to a championship. Although he might not be the defensive specialist that Carbonneau was, Gionta will bring a winning attitude that will become contagious to his fellow teammates just like Guy used to. Will this give le bleu, blanc et rouge what its fans so desperately want? Only time will tell, but if anybody can lead this team to its 24th Stanley cup it would be this tenacious forward who we can now all proudly call captain.