Saturday, January 31, 2009

What does a letter mean?

Just sitting on press row at the Bell Centre and the lineup sheets were just handed out, confirming something that crossed my mind during the steamrolling in Florida.

With all the potential assistant captains and Saku Koivu now back in the lineup, it is Mike Komisarek that's still wearing the "A" on his shoulder. It's the "A" that was on his buddy Christopher Higgins' shoulder ever since last season, and the fact it was removed from there has happened with little fanfare.

So what exactly does this mean?

First of all, it shows Komisarek how important the team thinks he is to its success. He's a guy who's very well liked in the room, and seemingly by the coaches judging by his presence behind the bench while he was injured.

That kind of sentiment could go a long way toward Komisarek accepting a bit of a hometown discount when it comes time to negotiate a new contract after the season is over (or, if Bob Gainey shows some wisdom here, long before that).

But what does it mean to Higgins? A guy who is already somewhat prone to spasms of insecurity, I can't imagine he took this news very well. It's also going to likely cause more than a few sleepless nights between now and March 4, as he is likely to be included in any and all rumoured deals that Gainey is supposedly trying to swing.

If I were Higgins, having that "A" on my sweater would provide some sort of security, a sense that the team feels I am a part of the core moving forward. If he never had the "A" to begin with, not having it now probably wouldn't mean that much. But to have it taken away is a whole other matter altogether.

The puck's about to be dropped, so it's time to see whether or not this weekend will define the Canadiens season, either in a positive or negative way.

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