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

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

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Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
 
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
 
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
 
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
 
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.