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In the old days, the calculation was simple; the oldest guy in the room was named captain, unless Jean Beliveau happened to be there, in which case it was him.

"For a bunch of years I was the oldest guy, so they gave me the C, I guess there may have been a vote, but I don't remember one offhand," Habs legend Henri "la roquette de poche" Richard told French Immersion recently.

The big question mark surrounding who will wear the "C" in the post-Koivu era is garnering a fair bit of attention in this fair province, and some of you have been asking for thoughts from this corner (well ok, one of you asked.)

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So without further ado, let us inspire ourselves from the news headlines du jour to present the inaugural Denis Coderre putting-the-team-above-personal-ambition trophy, or maybe it should be the Martin Cauchon persevering-despite-the-obstacles award. Oh hell, let's just call it the Michael Ignatieff citation for leadership in stormy waters.

Final rosters will have to be submitted to the NHL by 3 p.m. tomorrow, which presumably will be the cue for Jacques Martin to pin the big white "C" (the baseline requirement for an Iggy citation) on ….

Andrei Markov?

I know, we've been touting Brian Gionta for the post after his stellar camp and leadership by example, inspiration to all, etc., but the more we think about it, the more we realize Markov is likely to be the guy.

And no, we're not basing ourselves on Greek chorus member Martin Brodeur, who intimated to some Franco media types over the weekend that Gionta and Scott Gomez aren't captain material. What does he know anyway?

For one thing, Markov actually came out and patiently answered all media questions in regards to Patrice Brisebois' retirement last week, and managed to say some very complimentary things, which when you consider the talent disparity between the two shows a mastery of both good manners and political rhetoric.

In Markovian terms, it was as close to an audition for the role as you're likely to get, earlier reports of his disinterest in the job notwithstanding.

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Most importantly, all the guys seem to love him, he's the longest-serving Hab, he's clearly the best player on the team, and this is a club that likes to couch itself in tradition.

And the clincher, expressed by Comrade Georges Laraque in a recent La Presse interview, "Markov talks to everybody. I had never seen him speak in the room before." (Maybe it's anachronistic to tag NHLPA Georges with the comrade label, perhaps we should call him 'Buzz' or 'Che' or 'Harry Bridges', after the famous Commie rabble-rouser who spearheaded the San Francisco general strike of 1934. You decide, vote early, vote often. But we digress).

Add it all up kiddies.

We still think Gionta would be a good choice, and if there hadn't been an unfortunate misunderstanding regarding our sports-book privileges - some frantic nonsense about not paying up on time - we'd slap down "un p'tit deux" on Gionta, Gomez, and Mike Cammalleri wearing "A"s this season.

The Habs embark on day two of their Thoreau-ian internet and television-free retreat in the Caledon hills (thank God for smart phones and texting!), hopefully Martin or Bob Gainey will put an end to this madness before Thursday's opener by appointing the first management-picked captain since Vincent Damphousse.

And if they decide on a rotating captaincy - or as the always excellent FourHabsFans have called it, a council of village elders - we're demanding a refund.

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Finally, further to the Coderre-Ignatieff cage match extravaganza (rending of garments! Fake blood!), here's a neat encapsulation of why it's potentially toxic for the Liberals in Quebec. As usual, sport provides a perfect metaphor, the cartoonist's deliciously jaundiced eye does the rest. You'll have guessed this is a big story in Quebec today, maybe even bigger than Habs.

On second thought, nah.

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