Julien to name alternate captains by the weekend


Julien to name alternate captains by the weekend

WILMINGTON -- Claude Julien has a long laundry list of things to accomplish in a six-day training camp to get ready for the NHL season, but hashing out the second alternate captain for the Black and Gold hasnt been one of them.

Zdeno Chara has been the Bruins captain since arriving prior to the 2006-07 season, and that wont be changing anytime soon. Patrice Bergeron holds the first 'A' letter on his sweater and is the acknowledged second-in-command among the players within the organizations leadership structure.

Mark Recchi had been the easy choice as the third captain until he retired after Bostons Stanley Cup victory. Last season Julien went with a different tact and split the second 'A' between the veteran defenseman Andrew Ference and third line center Chris Kelly, and alternated responsibilities between home and road games.

On the Bruins there are, of course, many candidates that could fill that kind of symbolic leadership role. Shawn Thornton acts, plays and leads like a captain on the Bruins at all times, but isnt on the ice quite as much as some of the other players that are captain-type material.

Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Gregory Campbell and Dennis Seidenberg are among a second wave of alternate captain candidates looking to shoulder more responsibility among their teammates. All would make fine choices while playing their part with a Stanley Cup championship on their hockey resume.

Will he do something similar to last year when he split the alternate captain duties between Ference and Kelly?

Probably, said Julien. On my list of 'to dos,' that is really low. Maybe ask me on Saturday morning or Friday after practice, because thats when things will be more of a priority.

But weve got a lot of the same guys and it could be FerenceKelly unless we get together with the guys and decide to do something else. I dont think theres a big reason to make a lot of changes that way.

So it sounds like it will once again be Kelly and Ference alternating while assisting Chara and Bergeron with the honorable A on their Black and Gold sweater.

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract


Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.