With the final cuts coming earlier today, the 23-man roster for the Habs is finally set.
I don't think anyone is very surprised to see who was sent back to Hamilton, perhaps with the exception of Yannick Weber, but even in his case it wouldn't have been very productive to have him on the big club as an eighth defenceman/fourth line winger.
The only thing that remains to be decided prior to Thursday night's showdown with the Leafs at the ACC is who will be wearing the "C" above his heart.
This has been a popular debate for most of the summer, and it's one I haven't really weighed in on yet, largely because I didn't know what to think. Andrei Markov would be my first choice, but no one wants a captain who's miserable in that role. After him, it's a wide open debate.
Well, with Martin seemingly preparing to announce the next captain of the Canadiens on Wednesday, it's now or never for me to make a pick.
Brian Gionta seems to be a popular choice among media these days. Why? I'm not too sure. Gionta has had three successive declining seasons in terms of offensive productivity, he's not a very outgoing personality, and he has a big contract to live up to. You want to tack on the pressure of being captain of the Canadiens? Let's just let Gionta score goals, shall we?
Mike Cammalleri could be a decent candidate, he appears to be well liked in the room and he's probably the team's best forward.
But if the decision were mine, I would pick Scott Gomez. Even though his former teammate Martin Brodeur has come out publically and said he's not captain material for a variety of reasons, I think Gomez, at 29, has reached a stage of his career where he's ready for this kind of responsibility. Yes, Gomez has a lot of pressure already to live up to his own monster contract and bounce back from his worst statistical season since 2002. But as the first line centre, as the team's only two-time Stanley Cup winner, as the team's highest paid player, and as a guy who's already learned the value of good PR, I think Gomez is the ideal candidate.
A lot of Ranger fans seemed to find Gomez kind of snarky whenever he appeared in the media because he was smiling in interviews despite his on-ice struggles. That smile will serve him well in Montreal, where some of the questions asked of a captain may want to make him pull his hair out.