By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins aren’t exactly in a rush to name a new team captain less than 24 hours after defenseman Zdeno Chara’s departure to Washington following a 14-season run as the Black and Gold’s captain. But they do expect that decision to come at some point in 2021, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed.
“We’ll make a decision moving forward, I think it’s an obvious decision and one that we’ll make in a respectful manner [and] at an appropriate time,” Sweeney said Thursday. “But I think it is important to allow this moment, as raw as it is, to let it play out for the time being as we get on the doorstep to training camp. But we will do that in the right and appropriate manner.
“We will allow this some time to breath for Zdeno and his decision.”
Sweeney’s right about one thing: It’s an obvious decision that’ll 100 percent, no-mistake-about-it end with Patrice Bergeron wearing the ‘C’ as the 19th captain in franchise history.
Long considered Chara’s co-captain, the 35-year-old Bergeron has worn an ‘A’ on his jersey since Chara was first named captain in 2006, and is the longest tenure Bruin on the roster, having spent his entire 16-year career with the Bruins.
What that means for the rest of the B’s roster — namely where Bergeron’s ‘A’ goes from here — is its own discussion.
The Bruins have rotated the second alternate between Brad Marchand and David Krejci (and others) over the last few seasons, so it’s entirely possible that the Bruins merely make both full-time alternates.
But the Bruins also believe they have their next wave of potential leaders in that locker room, and when you consider that Bergeron was first named an alternate captain when he was just 21 years old, it’s possible that the Bruins are hoping for a similar breakthrough from a Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo, or Charlie McAvoy among others.
They also added veteran winger Craig Smith in free agency, while center Charlie Coyle and defenseman Kevan Miller (who has worn an ‘A’ for the Bruins before) both remain in the locker room as vocal presences.
It’s enough to leave Sweeney confident in how this new leadership group is built in letters and attitude.
“I do believe we have as strong leadership core still in place and we have other players that would like to assume a larger responsibility in that, on and off the ice,” said Sweeney. “And they have to grow into that. That’s a learned, that’s not a born in ability in my opinion. And we’re going to allow for some of that latitude.
“We have a lot of strong guys that are looking to continue the success they’ve previously had, pass it on to the next cast of players that we hope to become core, integral parts of this hockey club, and we’ll move forward.”