Bruins continue to mull over 'A' choices

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Bruins continue to mull over 'A' choices

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

The Bruins sit on the eve of opening night against the Philadelphia Flyers, and no decision has yet been made on an alternate captain replacement for Mark Recchi on a Bs team laden with veteran leadership.

Watching Recchi collect his championship ring with the rest of the team on Tuesday night was a stark reminder the Bs are still one A jersey short of a full set with Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron serving respectively as the captain and permanent alternate captain.

There have been plenty of names bandied about for the A, and theyre all extremely good options.

Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton are both veteran leaders and influential voices within the dressing room, and compelling arguments can be made for their letter worthiness. They would and should be the leaders in the clubhouse.

Adam McQuaid, Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly and the departed veteran Chris Clark all wore the A during the training camp season, and are among younger players like Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell that all exhibited excellent leadership qualities over the last couple of years.

So the choice isnt easy for Claude Julien and the rest of the Bs coaching staff when it comes to a new alternate captain. There are also some different options the team could opt for as well. In fact its never a bad idea to emulate the Detroit Red Wings on any organizational level including picking captains and holding an expectation of excellence among those without letters.

With the experience that we went through last year that made those guys more confident, there is a feeling like they can lead a little bit more," Julien said. "There's that comfort in that dressing room right now with guys that have been together for a long time. So there are a lot of things that come into play, and you don't need a letter. You often use the example of Detroit because they seem to be a nice model for a lot of those things.

There are a lot of guys on that team that could also wear a letter and they don't. That doesn't stop them from being a great team, and doesn't stop those guys from leading by example whether it's on or off the ice.

The Bruins may go back to the Julien system of letter-carrying prior to Mark Recchi, and disperse the second A on a rotational schedule to multiple players over the course of the season based on numerous factors. Or there may be one clear choice for alternate captain among the list of battle-hardened players in Black and Gold.

Whichever way Julien and Co. were leaning, he wasnt tipping his hand 24 hours prior to puck drop.

It's not going to be an easy decision," Julien said. "That process is made between coaches, and obviously you always get a little input from players. But there's a lot of guys that could wear it. I know that it could be shared, it could be a monthly thing or it could be just a few guys. There are also guys that don't really need a letter to be leaders. As much importance as you guys put into it, we put as much too. But the meaning of it or what it's going to do to whoever has it or whoever doesn't have it -- is not as big of an issue as most people think.

While it may not be a huge deal, its clear by Juliens deliberation that hes not taking his letter choice lightly.

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

Chara on slumping Bruins: Players shouldn't have to be told to work hard

Chara on slumping Bruins: Players shouldn't have to be told to work hard

BRIGHTON -- The on-ice portion of Bruins practice kicked off about an hour later than scheduled at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning.

The B's are reeling, having lost four games in a row for the first time this season after getting dumped by the Penguins, 5-1, in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Their standing in the Atlantic Division, and the playoff picture, is tenuous at best with so many other teams holding games in hand over them, and it truly looks like they're going to slide out of the race if they can’t reverse their fortunes.

So Claude Julien, saying "desperate times call for desperate measures," summoned the players to a video session where flaws, mistakes, half-hearted efforts and bad systems-play was pointed out in front of everyone. The team then took the ice to iron out those problems in an hour-long practice that the embattled Bruins coach hopes will lead to better results in the final two games, against Detroit and Pittsburgh, before the All-Star break.

“He was showing details that we were doing well early on in the season to have success, and little things that we’ve gotten away from that we need to correct,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “We need to start doing them again. It’s a game of little details and we need to make sure we do them right.”

While Chara wouldn’t comment on the tone of the video session, it’s clear that things like effort, determination and desperation were probably talking points just as much as fine-tuning Julien’s long-held offensive and defensive systems.

“It’s commitment," said Chara. "That’s for sure, that we need to have everybody doing that. We shouldn’t . . . at this level, at this time of the season, [have to be] asking guys to work hard. We’ve got to make sure that everybody is working hard, and everybody is paying his dues to be in the lineup and earn a spot.

“That’s the No. 1 priority: You have to compete and you have to work hard. Usually when you do those things, good things happen. We’ve got to back to those little things [with] hard work, commitment and competing every shift.”

Will an honest, direct video session between head coach and players be the key to stopping the team’s most demoralizing stretch of the season, and lead to a prolonged winning streak? Only time will tell.

But the Bruins need something to get spinning in an entirely different direction.