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

What we learned: Bruins 2, Sharks 1

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What we learned: Bruins 2, Sharks 1

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Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after watching the Boston Celtics take a hard pass on the Boogie. 
 
-- Bob McKenzie sits in with the good folks at TSN 1200 Ottawa sports radio and talks a little Claude Julien of the Montreal Canadiens

-- The Avalanche youth movement is set to begin as quickly as March 1, as Colorado may move some of its veteran players at the trade deadline. 
 
-- Ryan Johansen got snubbed in his return to Columbus for the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators. That’s too bad, but it’s also not exactly Wayne Gretzky returning to the Edmonton Oilers for the first time. 
 
-- The price tag for Kevin Shattenkirk is in and it includes a top prospect and a first-round pick, along with another piece, for a rental defenseman. That should be far too rich for the Bruins’ blood. The B's were already intent on avoiding the rental market ahead of the trade deadline, and the steep price -- even for a potentially useful short-term acquisition like the puck-moving Shattenkirk -- should make that even more of a certainty. 
 
-- Ken Campbell asks whether hockey agents have gone too far in chasing after prospective prospects before they even enter their teenage years. 

 -- Bobby Ryan has a hand injury that’s going to sideline him, another piece of bad luck for the Senators forward. 
 
-- For something completely different: On President’s Day, it seems only natural to go through the favorite Presidents in the history of the Marvel Universe.