We’re officially in the NHL dog days of summer but former NHLer and TSN 1200 in Ottawa morning host Shawn Simpson attempted to create some buzz amongst Montreal Canadiens fans on Twitter Wednesday.
Simpson tweeted the following on who should be the next captain of the Montreal Canadiens:
Being the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens is one of the greatest honors in sports. Suzuki is a great person and player, who doesn't need the added burden or pressure of wearing the "C" at this point in his career.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) August 17, 2022
While that tweet didn’t exactly light up the Montreal Canadiens faction of Twitter Wednesday, it’s definitely a topic that will have more viral potential about a month from now. While this puck scribe tends to agree with Simpson, Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher are the favourites to become the 31st captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
“Most definitely those two; two different types of leaders but both captain material,” a team source told Montreal Hockey Now late Wednesday afternoon. “Clearly, like ‘Simmer’ said in the tweet, it’s a lot to ask of Suzuki right now and ‘Gally’ has already proven for a while now that he’s a leader. Still, I think Nick can handle it too despite being younger than ‘Gally’.
Brendan Gallagher himself had already heaped captain-worthy praise on Suzuki prior to last season and prior to Suzuki becoming a regular alternate captain.
“You look at a guy like ‘Suuz’, a younger player that is probably going to get that opportunity this year and he’s going to get that opportunity because guys are already looking at him and willing to follow him,” Gallagher said last September after the Canadiens knew they would be without then captain Shea Weber.
— Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) September 28, 2021
Just over a week after he was hired as interim head coach of the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 9, Martin St. Louis gave a blunt assessment of what he felt about Suzuki becoming the next captain. St. Louis served as the captain of the 2013-14 Tampa Bay Lightning until he was traded to the New York Rangers just before the 2014 NHL trade deadline.
Note: It should be noted that at this point, then newly-anointed Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes had already told the media that he planned on his team having a new captain for the upcoming season. He reiterated this after the NHL Draft last month.
“There’s vocal leaders, there’s leaders by example. Usually, young guys are most leaders by example. I think Suzy is probably in that department,” St. Louis said of the then 22-year-old Suzuki who turned 23 on August 10. “I think he tries to do everything right on the ice. I think he tries to absorb the information, the coaching, and tries to go apply it. I think as he gets older I’m sure there will be more of a responsibility and he’ll probably be a little more of a vocal leader, having more of a pulse of everybody in the room, not just him.
I think as a young player that’s really hard to ask. I think you grow into that and from my own experience I think as players you grow into that role. I think when you’re young you’re probably leading by example. I know that where we are right now maybe he’s going to have to speed that part up a little bit where maybe be a little more vocal. But it’s not something that you can force on anybody.”
With the 30-year-old Gallagher being an integral part of the leadership core for the last five seasons, the Canadiens wouldn’t be forcing the ‘C’ and all that comes with it, on him at all. No one is saying that the Canadiens would be forcing it on Suzuki if they decided to make him the next captain but Simpson definitely provided food for thought and a valid argument that will be decided in just under two months.