Looks like we're already going to have to change the banner; Habs captaincy issues... first blog! Edit: Markov DENIES C rumors

"HEY! What's going on up there!"

Welcome, one and all, to TheCheckingLine.com, your source for unique hockey insight from Aztk and myself, and many more to come. While the two of us are Habs fans, we are truly hockey fans in general, and we will try our best to bring you insight from all around the league, and build a community that will rival the biggest and best hockey sites out there.

So, register today, join the forums, and who knows? If you're good enough, maybe we'll make you a blogger. Anyway, enough with the petty attempts to get people to join the site, I do actually have some content for all of you today, involving some news coming out of Habs Land.

First up:

Price's new mask, courtesy of HabsInsideOut.com. It's certainly an improvement over the Garth Brooks mask. Not happy he's back to the red pads though, some people with certain superstitions seem to think that the red pads are what caused his demise last year. It's just training camp though, so I'm not going to blow up any cars just yet.

So, obviously, training camp has started and this city is slowly starting to buzz with hockey fever. The first preseason game is Thursday (the first game was last night, first televised game is Toronto's first game on Wednesday on TSN2), but Montreal fans won't be left thirsty, as 5 games in 5 nights is sure to quench our thurst for hockey, for the time being.

The new players seem to be adapting well to life in this city. Some players, like Gionta and Gomez, as well as Subban, have already started to learn French.

Which begs the question, are they truly trying to embrace the culture in Quebec, or are they lobbying both the organization and the fans in order to obtain, oh, I don't know... the captaincy?

With news coming out that the captaincy had been offered to Andrei Markov, and that he turned the opportunity to wear the C down, the race for the captaincy is wide open. With no clear-cut frontrunner, and a bunch of new players, it could be almost anyone who will end up donning the C when the season starts.

For all we know, it could be no one donning the C on October 1st in Toronto.

Personally, that doesn't bother me. The media will be all up in arms if that does happen, quoting tradition and referring to the past and how this team has always had a captain who's led the team, but I say, let the players EARN the captaincy.

At the ranch retreat at the end of the month, Jacques Martin and his team of coaches should identify the player who performed best during camp... both on the ice and off. The player who best represents what it takes to wear a Captain's C (minus Andrei Markov, who seems to be more focused on playing hockey than learning new languages). Then, give that player the C on an interim basis for the Month of October. Once that month is up, give the C to the best performer from that prior month (again, both on and off the ice).

Keep doing this until the right player finally steps up, and you have yourself a captain. The rotating captaincy concept has worked on many teams in many different sports, and why shouldn't it work here? Tradition or not, you don't want to hastily award the C to someone who might not deserve it, and with several players seemingly interested, and seemingly in this city long term, management should take a long, hard look on who deserves to wear it.

Once again, I stress that this player should fit the role, both on and off the ice, and not just because he's the best or loudest player on the ice, OR because he seems to be willing to learn french or visit hospitals and set up charities. This player should have it all.

But if I had to choose one player, right now, who will make or break this team's success over the next few years, and who I think would be a good fit as captain?

Who do YOU think should wear the C? Any ideas on how it should be handed out? Should we even start the season with the captain, or let it decide itself as the season goes on? Please, comment, and please, enjoy the site!

Update 2PM: According to RDS, Markov has denied being offered the C. maybe something's being lost in translation, or maybe management is trying to keep it hush, but it's certainly interesting.