His short stature has always been an issue.

It's not because he brings it up; it's frequently been brought up for him. But Brian Gionta's talent has always outdistanced his 5-foot-7-inch frame, whether he was playing junior hockey, college hockey, or in the National Hockey League.

One person who had a front-row seat for Gionta's development is Boston College coach Jerry York. York watched Gionta blossom from a top prospect to a leader and game-changer who is now the captain of the Montreal Canadiens.