Gionta named Canadiens’ 28th captain

Brian Gionta has been named the 28th captain of the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the second American to hold the position in the team’s 101-year history.

Gionta on Wednesday succeeded Saku Koivu, whose 10-year tenure ended when he left Montreal as a free agent following the 2008-09 season. The Canadiens went without a captain last season.

The 31-year-old Gionta led Montreal with 28 goals in his debut last season after signing a five-year, $25-million deal. He added nine goals and six assists in 19 playoff games as Montreal advanced to the Eastern Conference final, the deepest the team had gone in the playoffs since winning a record 24th Stanley Cup in 1993.

Chris Chelios was the Canadiens’ first American captain, sharing the post with Guy Carbonneau in 1989-90.