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Brian Gionta becomes the 28th captain in Canadiens history

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens announced Wednesday the appointment of veteran forward Brian Gionta as the new team captain. He becomes the 28th player in franchise history to wear the “C", succeeding Saku Koivu who assumed that role from 1999 to 2009. Gionta, who was one of three assistants named at the start of the 2009-10 season, will have defensemen Andrei Markov and Hal Gill to assist him in his duties.

Recognized for his leadership on and off the ice, Gionta, 31, is entering his 9th NHL season and his second with the Canadiens. Signed as a free agent on July 1, 2009, Gionta made his presence felt in his first season with the Canadiens leading the team with 28 goals, including a team-high 10 power play markers. Gionta also recorded three game-winning tallies and also posted a team-high 237 shots on goal. Since his NHL debut in 2001, the native of Rochester, NY, has played 534 games recording 180 goals and 358 points. Gionta recorded 63 of his goals on special teams, with 53 power play goals and five shorthanded markers. A three-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as top US College player, Gionta qualified for the playoffs in each of his eight NHL seasons, hoisting the Holy Grail as a member of the New Jersey Devils back in 2003. His has 55 points, including 28 goals, in 86 career playoffs match-ups, averaging 18:07 of ice time.

Andrei Markov is entering his 10th season with the Canadiens. He will be an assistant captain for a third consecutive season (since 2008-09). Last season Markov wore the “A” in all 45 games he played. A native of Voskresensk, Russia, the 31-year old defenseman played in a total of 616 regular season NHL games. Markov officially became a Canadian citizen on July 16, 2010. Markov was a Canadiens’ 6th round pick, 162nd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Hal Gill is entering his second season with the Canadiens. The 35-year old Concord, Massachussets native was an assistant for the 68 games he was in the line-up last season. The 6-foot-7 defenseman joined the Canadiens as a free agent on July 1, 2009. He was a member of the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Champion team.

Due to injuries last season, Gionta, Markov and Gill were successively replaced by Michael Cammalleri (39 games), Scott Gomez (15 games), Roman Hamrlik (14 games) and Travis Moen (4 games) who all assumed the role of assistant captains.

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