Rabid Habs

The Face of a Storied Franchise

The face of a franchise is an important role for players. If you are the face of a franchise, you are not necessarily the best player, but you are a star. You are a player that gets the most attention, either bad or good. You take the credit when your team wins, and you take the abuse if your team loses. You are a leader, either because you are the best player on the ice or because you are a great communicator and great image off the ice. You represent your team; essentially, you are the face of the franchise. Outside your profession, you are your franchise.

The Montreal Canadiens are arguably the most storied franchise in the NHL. Winner of 24 Stanley Cups, most of all time, an original six team, over 100 years of existence and 61 people, associated one way or another with the Habs are now in the Hall of Fame. With this much history, comes a lot of pressure to fulfill an image; an image of class, star quality, and charisma and above all, a proven winner. In the past, the Montreal Canadiens have had leaders like Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, etc.; all proven winners.

The Montreal Canadiens have a very good mix of young players and veteran players that build a strong foundation. They are by no means going to blow out any opposing team. They are a team on the bubble, which is always harder to predict; they can finish best overall in their division or, finish dead last.

So, who is the present face of the franchise?

We can look at this a couple ways: Are we looking for a player who has pure talent, and upside? Are we looking for a player who exudes heart and perseverance? The Montreal Canadiens have both within their team. The young core of Montreal Canadiens players include: Carey Price, PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher, etc. The veteran core of the Montreal Canadiens include: Captain; Brian Gionta, long time Hab; Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Brandon Prust, Daniel Brière and Francis Bouillon.

There are different types of leaders. There are the silent leaders, the ones that lead by example, on the ice. Or there are the flamboyant leaders that love the spot light and take the heat off many other players when times get tough.

Brian Gionta has had a couple of tough seasons with injuries, but every time he steps foot on the ice as the Montreal Canadiens’ Captain, he exudes leadership with his hard work and perseverance. He leads by example and is the quiet leader. He has already won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils which can add experience that every team looks for.

Through the last lockout, there were some Montreal Canadiens players letting their voices heard. Whether it was through Social Media, or on local television broadcasts, some Habs didn’t shy away from the public.

Brandon Prust had a pick-up, ball hockey game outside the Bell Centre, after inviting fans to show up with some sticks, balls and nets through Twitter. He was brought to the Montreal Canadiens to add some size, grit and character; something the Montreal Canadiens were in dire need of.

PK Subban decided, for one night that he was a forecast meteorologist. He decided to help the local meteorologist of CTV, in Montreal and deliver the always important weather forecast. On the ice, PK Subban exudes confidence, flare, and charisma. He has a refreshingly exciting domineer and is one of the most exciting players on the ice. Is he the face of the Montreal Canadiens?

Josh Gorges is an example of a player who always says or does the right things. Whether through postgame interviews, or through his play on the ice, he always leads by example. Even though he does not possess the most exciting skills, he is fan favourite because of the way he defends and blocks shots.

If we had to choose the face of the current Montreal Canadiens, the real leader, I wouldn’t be able to give you a single player. Every player within the Montreal Canadiens exudes leadership and a commitment to win. They are leaders by committee and there is not just one “face of a franchise.”

Article originally written by Giancarlo Aimone. (click here to view)