Ference, Kelly to split 'A' for Bruins

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Ference, Kelly to split 'A' for Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins ended the suspense on Thursday after their first morning skate of the season, and both Chris Kelly and Andrew Ference were named co-alternate captains for the upcoming hockey season. The A will be alternated with Ference donning it on his sweater during home games and Kelly on road games, and then the pair will switch homeroad duties halfway through the season.

We wanted to get some stability with it, said Claude Julien. We didnt feel like wed be getting the same impact if we just moved the letter around all the time. But our leadership group remains bigger than the letters, and were going to take advantage of that inside the dressing room.

Zdeno Chara will still obviously wear the C on his sweater and Patrice Bergeron gets the permanent alternate captaincy, and Claude Julien decided that a KellyFerence combination gave the Bs everything they needed in terms of symbolic leadership.

Those guys have the personality that gives them the respect in the room, and they also have that personality that shows the right kind of leadership within the room both on and off the ice, said Julien. Theyre highly respected in the dressing room, so there didnt seem to be any second thoughts on if they were the right choices. It was pretty unanimous.

I know Chris came in late in the season last year, but he was known as a great leader in Ottawa. But he kind of felt his way through before he started really showing his leadership to the extremes. It was pretty obvious during the playoffs what kind of leader he was, and our coaching staff recognized that.

While the letter move is clearly a nod to the leadership status of Kelly and Ference within the Bruins leadership hierarchy, the Bs coach also assured everyone that the strong leadership by committee group within the Bs dressing room would remain intact. Bruins personalities like Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg and Nathan Horton are key components of the teams personality and Julien expected them all to lead whether or not there was a letter stitched on their jersey.

Given the level of quality and consensus within the Bs dressing room the group approach doesnt seem like a stretch at all.

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

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.