by Corey Desormeaux , Managing Editor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Alex Galchenyuk (Photo by: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo)
Alex Galchenyuk (Photo by: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo)

 

MONTREAL, QC. — Well, Habs fans came close to breaking Twitter today when General Manager Marc Bergevin answered media questions ahead of the Montreal Canadiens Annual Golf Tournament.  Two major questions pending on the brains of fans and media were finally answered, will Alex Galchenyuk play centre? And will the Canadiens name a team captain?

Galchenyuk at Centre

Ah, a collective sigh of relief was released by all Habs fans today when Bergevin announced that Alex Galchenyuk will play centre.  Remember the outrage and elevated anxiety levels when Bergevin announced in his end-of-year press conference that Galchenyuk may never play centre?  Fans need to remember that this as much a business as it is a sport, and Galchenyuk’s pending contract, like all contracts, was a negotiation process.  There is no way that Marc Bergevin was going to show his cards before a contract was signed.

Remember the months, days and hours leading up to the final minutes of Subban’s contract negotiation?  Bergevin, Therrien and the rest of the Habs brass were holding their cards extremely close, giving fans and media nothing.  Why go above and beyond to praise a player’s ability in the public eye while negotiating said player’s contract?  The negotiation process is far too often overlooked before fans react to news.

It should be acknowledged that Marc Bergevin attributed his previous answers regarding Galcheyuk at centre to not yet having informed Galchenyuk that he will be playing their next season.  This may very well be the case as well.

I won’t dive into Galchenyuk’s abilities in his natural position of centre as it’s been written about it extensively.  However, it does raise a few questions…

Who will play wing with Galchenyuk? Who will move from centre to wing? Will someone get dealt?

Personally, I want to see Alexander Semin and Brendan Gallagher playing alongside Galchenyuk.  However, a major determining factor of who will play with Galchenyuk will be what happens with the logjam at centre.  I wrote recently about the status of Tomas Plekanec heading into a contract year and how he may, unfortunately, be the odd man out.  In the piece, I wrote about Plekanec’s ability to play in all situations and that was reiterated through the various interviews with player’s at today’s Golf Tournament, specifically Max Pacioretty.

I’d love to see Plekanec stay for the entire season with Desharnais moving to the wing.  In Desharnais’ short stint on the wing last season he looked effective and comfortable.  When speaking to the media today he acknowledged the possibility and his willingness to do it.  I think this is the more likely scenario.

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New Captain

Its official, the Montreal Canadiens will have a new captain heading into the 2015-16 season.  Who that individual is, is yet to be announced.  Fellow colleague, Michael, wrote a piece a few weeks back on who the Habs’ 29th captain could be.  He took a strong look at five strong options, ultimately choosing Max Pacioretty as the top candidate.

Before anyone says Carey Price! Bergevin noted at the Golf Tournament that Carey Price will not be the next captain, because, well simply, he can’t be.

I must say, I agree with Michael’s choice of Pacioretty, with a close second going to P.K. Subban.  Tomas Plekanec is another strong option for the Habs but with him entering a contract year and his future so uncertain, it’s unlikely to happen.

So who will be the alternates?  Assuming Pacioretty gets the captaincy, I believe the Habs roll with a similar system to last year, which saw Pacioretty and Subban swap the “A” for home and away games.  Markov, Plekanec, Subban and Gallagher all deserve a letter and could swap for home and away games.

What do you think of these two big announcements? How will the Habs deal with the logjam at centre, and who will be named the next captain?