MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens open their training camp Friday looking a lot like the team that took the ice last season and general manager Pierre Gauthier says that's a good thing.
The team built by his predecessor, Bob Gainey, made it all the way to the Eastern Conference final before bowing out to the Philadelphia Flyers in five games. Gauthier says this year's squad is a year wiser.
"Remember that 17 players from last year are back with us," he told reporters at the official launch of the team's 2010-2011 season.
One question that remains is who will be wearing the "C" on the arm of his Canadiens jersey when the puck is dropped for the start of the 2010-2011 season.
Gauthier is remaining tight-lipped, saying only that the captain will be named by the first game of the season and that management, not the players, will make the call.
One key cog in the team's defence is still hurting. Russian defenseman Andrei Markov is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Game 1 of the conference semi-final against Pittsburgh. He has started skating again but the Gauthier says it's too early to say when he'll be at full strength.
The injury could provide an opening for P.K. Subban, the diminutive 21-year-old blueliner, who became a fan favourite following a late-season call-up last spring.
Expectations for the 6', 205-pound Subban are high this year after he was called up from Hamilton Bulldogs and quickly earned respect in the playoffs through his toughness and workhorse attitude. But the Toronto-born sparkplug wouldn't bite when asked about his chances on Monday.
"I'm not about to start worrying about external stuff," Subban told reporters at the team's practice facility in Brossard, south of Montreal. "All I control is my work on the ice."