Stu Cowan: Canadiens made right choice in naming Nick Suzuki captain

“He has the respect of each single man in that locker room and he’s the heartbeat of our staff,” veteran Brendan Gallagher says.

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No disrespect to Brendan Gallagher, however Nick Suzuki was the logical option to be named captain of the Canadiens.

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Gallagher turned the heart-and-soul of the Canadiens throughout his first 10 seasons within the NHL — actually bleeding bleu-blanc-rouge — and would have been an incredible selection as captain. However this staff is rebuilding with youth.

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Gallagher is 30 and his greatest years are in all probability behind him. Suzuki is 23 and his greatest years must be forward of him.

Suzuki is heading into the primary season of an eight-year, US$63-million contract, whereas Gallagher has 5 seasons remaining on his six-year, US$39-million deal. If Gallagher can in some way keep wholesome and rebound from a disappointing, injury-plagued season by which he performed solely 56 video games and scored seven targets there’s an excellent probability GM Kent Hughes will commerce him if he can discover a accomplice.

Hughes might be already making an attempt to commerce Gallagher because the Canadiens look to rebuild with youth and acquire salary-cap area.

I like all the pieces about Gallagher as a hockey participant and an individual. However making Suzuki the thirty first captain in Canadiens historical past was a sensible transfer.

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Gallagher agreed when he met with the media on the staff’s golf match Monday morning at Laval-sur-le-Lac, shortly after Suzuki had been named captain after which introduced that Gallagher and Joel Edmundson could be his assistants.

“Suzy could be very mature,” Gallagher stated. “He’s a younger participant, however he’s very mature and a very powerful factor is he has the respect of each single man in that locker room and he’s the heartbeat of our staff. We couldn’t be happier for him, we couldn’t be extra excited to help him on this. It’s a proud day for him and his household and we’re simply blissful to be there to share it with him. The largest factor is we’re making an attempt to win some hockey video games and we’ve a frontrunner that we’re blissful to observe and we predict he’s going to have the ability to take us there.”

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Was Gallagher dissatisfied to not get the “C”?

“Completely not,” he stated. “I’m very lucky to have the position that I’ve on this staff. I’m very lucky to have been right here for this a few years. Disappointment isn’t one of many feelings I felt. I’m very blissful for my pal in Suz and he’s absolutely deserving of this chance. I do know he’s going to take us to a stage that we have to get to. As an assistant captain it’s my job to help him and I’m excited to try this.”

Suzuki could have loads of help from Gallagher and Edmundson, who’ve complete respect for the brand new captain. There’s loads to love about Suzuki each on and off the ice.

“I’ve regarded as much as each of those guys since Joel received right here (two seasons in the past) and since I joined the staff with Gally,” stated Suzuki, who’s heading into his fourth season with the Canadiens. “Each of them may have simply worn the ‘C’. I believe all of us have actually numerous respect for one another and we’re all going to assist one another out. You possibly can’t do it as one. We’re going to have management group and I’m blissful to have these guys beside me.

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“I talked to each of them and so they’re clearly supporting me and I might be supporting them in the event that they have been captain,” Suzuki added. “I had chat with Gally about it. He’s been right here a very long time and I’ve numerous respect for him. I believe we’re all going to assist one another and we wish to win hockey video games is the most important half.”

Profitable video games is at all times the most important half, however the Canadiens are constructing for the long run and it’s going to take time to show round a staff that had the worst document within the NHL final season.

“You take a look at what we’ve,” Gallagher stated. “This (yr’s) draft, what we’ve added, the draft picks we’ve developing. We’re a staff that for us to compete we’re going to wish our younger guys to make that step and that soar to the following stage. I believe most significantly we discovered a man, we discovered a captain that may lead us and take us there and that’s actually what we’re searching for. I believe if you take a look at Suz, he’s absolutely deserving of this chance.

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“All of us consider he’s prepared,” Gallagher added. “There’s going to be some rising pains and a few ups and downs, however he’s going to study as he goes. However, for probably the most half, I believe he’s going to flourish on this alternative — particularly doing it in a market like Montreal. I believe he must be very pleased with himself.”

Gallagher must also be pleased with himself and what he has achieved with the Canadiens.

The “C” would have additionally regarded good on him.

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