Brad Marchand

Marchand: B's leadership will be ‘collective' effort regardless of captain

One man won't replace Patrice Bergeron's leadership.

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The Boston Bruins have had just two captains -- Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron -- since the 2006-07 NHL season.

Bergeron retired in July after 19 seasons with the Original Six franchise, including the last three as captain. His departure opens the door for a new captain to be named ahead of the 2023-24 campaign. The Bruins also lost veteran center David Krejci, who retired in August after 15 seasons with the B's. Krejci was a respected leader in the team, too, and often served as an alternate captain.

There are a couple strong candidates to wear the "C" for Boston next season. The player most deserving, and probably most likely to serve in the role, is first-line left wing Brad Marchand.

Marchand made his B's debut during the 2009-10 season and is the team's longest-tenured player. He's made tremendous strides as a leader both on and off the ice in recent years, and he also is one of only a few players on the roster with Stanley Cup-winning experience.

Bruins captain's practices got underway Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, and Marchand was asked afterwards if he hopes to be the next captain.

“That’s not something that I really think about too much,” Marchand told reporters. “Obviously, it’s a big honor to be in the leadership group of this organization. When you look at the guys that have been there before, we’ve always done it collectively as a group.

“So regardless of who wears it, it’s a collective thing and even guys without letters step up a lot of times throughout the years. So, again, when you lose Bergy and Krejci, leadership is going to come from a group not from one certain guy or a couple guys. It’s got to be from a big collective group, so that’s what we’re gonna rely on this year.”

It's pretty much impossible to replace what Bergeron meant to the Bruins on and off the ice. He was one of the best leaders in the league, and even at age 37 he was still an elite two-way center.

Filling that void will require multiple players to take on more leadership responsibilities.

“Obviously, there’s been stints without (Bergeron) throughout years when he’s been hurt or whatever, but his presence around the room, in the gym and on the ice, you can’t replace that,” Marchand said. “It’ll be a lot different this year. And you say that as we go on it might get a little more comfortable, but it might be more difficult with all those big moments where he normally steps up and controls things.

"It'll be a little bit different. It's something we'll all work through together. It'll be different. That goes with (Krejci), too, to lose them both in the same year, that's a lot. But it gives other guys opportunity to step up and kind of start carving a different path for themselves, getting more leadership, carrying more minutes and carrying more of a load. Every time a guy leaves it creates more opportunity.”

Brad Marchand shares his thoughts on Patrice Bergeron's retirement and how he and his teammates will adjust to playing without the former Bruins captain.
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