By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The Bruins lost one of their alternate captains when Mark Recchi called it a career after Bostons Game 7 Stanley Cup win in Vancouver, and theres an obvious need to fill that roll alongside Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Recchi took with him three Stanley Cup rings and 43 years of hockey experience that can't easily be reproduced, and the Bruins aren't going to bother trying.There is obviously plenty of veteran leadership within Bostons dressing room above and beyond the playersdonningthe letters on their sweater, but there is still a status and import that goes along with the A stitched on the Black and Goldjersey.
Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg are the kind of older, veteran names that shouldbe stronglyconsidered for such an honor given the roles they played on the Cup-winning team. Milan Lucic is the perfectchoice among aburgeoning group of young-ish Bs players hitting their prime and taking big ownership stakes within the team.
But Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton might just be the odds-on favorite to be named an alternate captain in Bostonto replace his good friend Recchi. Thornton said simply getting consideration for that role is an honor and it wouldn't change the kind player he is on the ice --or the kind of guy heis off the ice.Thornton is the first player to offer up his home to a young skater just learning his way around Boston, and he's the one skater above all others that takes pride in sticking up for his teammates when chaos happens on the ice. He's also a force of personality in the B's dressing room for a guy that averaged just a shade over 10 minutes of ice timeper game last year.
Its an honor. Theres no doubt and those are the decisions that need to be made, said Thornton. Whether I have a letter or dont have a letter, though, Ill continue to be the same person Ive been for the last 15 years. Im not going to start talking more if I get a letter or talking less if I dont get one.
Itll be the same. Whatever happens, happens. It would be an honor, but its not something thats necessary and I think every guy in this dressing room feels the exact same way. Nobody is starving for it, but anybody would be honored to get it.
Thornton stepping up into the more visibleleadership rolegoes hand-in-hand withthe young Bruins core taking a little more ownership inthedressing room as well a sign its time for players like Lucic, David Krejci and Brad Marchand to step into supporting leadership roles along with the designated captain and alternate captains.
Some guys are a year older and probably need to start chiming in and stepping up in that way, said Thornton. Im sure they will. I guess its on us veterans to make sure that theyre comfortable enough to do it. We definitely lost a great leader in Recchi and everybody is going to need to help out to fill the void.
Theres no gaping hole there. Rex was a special individual and you just dont replace that. It will take a group effort to try and make sure were all headed in the right direction.