Ference, Kelly accept roles as "co-assistants"

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Ference, Kelly accept roles as "co-assistants"

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- While the alternate captain rotation between Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly during home and road games this season wasnt something many predicted around the Bruins, both veterans are well suited for the role.

Ference will wear the 'A' during home games in the first half of the year, and Chris Kelly during road games. Then halfway through the season, the two players will switch ihome and road duties. If either player is injured for any length of time, coach Claude Julien and his assistants reserve the right to bestow the 'A' on any of the other very worthy veteran leader-types in the Bs dressing room.

But for now its Ference and Kelly riding shotgun along with captain Zdeno Chara and permanent alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. And both players were understandably honored with the position.

For Ference its really been a building process over the last several years, and his simple acceptance of pretty much every player across nationalities, position on the ice, age and differing personalities makes him a natural choice.

In many ways its also about 43-year-old retired forward Mark Recchi, and imparting some of the knowledge passed on by the future Hall of Famer during his years in Boston.

Its definitely an honor, but I think the symbolism of Kelly and I sharing it is really right on, said Ference. Its like we talked about all training camp when you asked about it: how do you pick? There are so many guys where you could probably put it on half of us and nobody would blink. We have a very good locker room.

To have that good locker room and be selected to wear it . . . what do you say? Of course Im honored to be wearing it.

For Kelly it was a little bit trickier. His choice as a leader might have stunned those who dont have a good grasp on the inner workings of the dressing room, but those around the team heard just how vocal the former Senators center started getting once the playoffs rolled around. Kelly quickly went from a gritty bottom-six forward on the stacked playoff team to a voice that was widely respected around the room and also armed with a willingness to say whatever needed to be said un and down the lineup.

Kelly credited players like Daniel Alfredsson, Luke Richardson, Cory Stillman, Chris Phillips and Marty Lapointe as role models in Ottawa who really helped shape his leadership voice over the years.

Its a great honor. That letter could have gone to a lot of different guys in the locker room, said Kelly, who tread lightly at first after only arriving in Boston last February. We have a lot of leaders in here. Obviously when a team goes deep into the playoffs you learn a lot, and a lot of guys can really build up their leadership qualities. It was a surprise and a great honor.

A new guy never wants to be the loud guy. There were times at first where I really wanted to say something, but I kept my comments to myself at first and let the guys get to know me first. I didnt want to really want to over-talk because nobody likes the new loud guy. It was a little bit of a transition period, but I thought it was a good one.

There is a functional usage for the letter on a hockey sweater when it comes to chatting with referees during play, but its much more about the symbolic commendation of leadership for players that have demonstrated it well in the past.

Kelly and Ference were at the top of list, so perhaps this years new letter-beaters shouldnt have been quite as surprising as they were on first blush.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.
 

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.