Brian Gionta named Canadiens captain

September, 29, 2010
9/29/10
11:25
AM ET

Brian Gionta became the 28th captain of the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, and I'm not sure if there was anybody gushing with more pride than New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello.

[+] EnlargeBrian Gionta
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesBrian Gionta had 28 goals and 18 assists in 61 games last season for Montreal.
One of his own was now captain of hockey's most famous franchise.

"I couldn't be happier or more proud of him," Lamoriello told ESPN.com from his office. "He is without question one of the most quality individuals we've ever had here, as well as an outstanding player -- from Day 1."

There has long been a symbiotic relationship between Lamoriello and the Habs franchise he has always held in high esteem. It was Lamoriello who introduced Larry Robinson when the former Montreal great and ex-Devils coach had his No. 19 retired by the Canadiens.

"Yes, no question about it," Lamoriello said of the Habs link. "And there was Pat Burns, Jacques Lemaire ... I think you can see it. I have a lot of respect for that organization, its history and everything the Canadiens have done."

But now, the Devils are the ones giving back. They are the ones whose organization has been a model of consistency and success in the modern-day NHL. It's now one of Lou's boys righting the ship in Montreal by wearing "C".

Gionta joins Doug Weight (Islanders), Chris Drury (Rangers), Jamie Langenbrunner (Devils) and Dustin Brown (Kings) on the list of U.S.-born players who captain teams in the NHL.

"When you see Brian become captain there, and Scotty Gomez also playing there, both are from these roots here and you are proud of them," Lamoriello said.

As I was saying goodbye to Lamoriello over the phone, he quickly added before hanging up: "They made a great decision."

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