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.

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

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Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp. 

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

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Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while picking the San Jose Sharks over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.

 

*Patrick Lalime hopped on sports radio in Ottawa, and said the Chris Phillips/Zdeno Chara defense pairing was the best he ever played behind.

 

*Don Cherry had a major problem with Steven Stamkos suiting up and playing in the losing Game 7 to the Penguins.

 

*Phil Kessel gets pretty emotional about finally getting to the Stanley Cup Final after years of struggle in Toronto.

 

*USA Today’s Kevin Allen says the gap between the No. 1 goaltender and the backup isn’t what it used to be.

 

*Speaking the Sharks, the trip back to Pittsburgh for the Cup Final brings back memories for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

 

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) writer has the news about Dustin Brown getting stripped of the captaincy with the LA Kings.

 

*Bryan Rust was in the AHL to start this season, but much like Mike Sullivan and Matt Murray he killed it for the Penguins in the playoffs.

 

*For something completely different: It’s official that moving Jackie Bradley Jr. in the lineup wasn’t what killed his hitting streak.