Who will be the 21st captain of the Boston Bruins?
That’s one of the most burning questions surrounding the 2022-23 President’s Trophy winners as they rev up for the 2023-24 regular season. Since longtime Boston Bruins center and captain for the last three seasons, Patrice Bergeron retired in July, Bergeron’s longtime linemate Brad Marchand and defenseman Charlie McAvoy have emerged as favorites to be the next to don the ‘C’ on their jersey.
The captainless Boston Bruins held their first ‘Captain’s practice on Tuesday and their first without Bergeron and David Krejci since 2007. Following a well-attended skate at Warrior Arena, Marchand was, as expected, asked about the potential of becoming the team’s next captain in his 15th season in the NHL. As the 35-year-old winger explained, whether it’s him or McAvoy, or David Pastrnak or Brandon Carlo or Hampus Lindholm, the Bruins have plenty of leaders regardless of whether they wear a letter.
“It’s not something that I really think about too much. You know, obviously, it’s a big honor to be in the leadership group in this organization…You know we have always done it collectively as a group, so regardless of who wears it, it’s a collective thing. Even guys without letters step up,” Marchand pointed out. “The torch gets passed down. When it’s time to kind of lead the way, you got to do it. Same thing is going to go for Chucky [McAvoy], Pasta [Pastrnak], Brando [Carlo], and Lindy [Lindholm] at different times as well. So, we’ll all do it at different points throughout the year, and when it’s your turn, you got to step up.”
However, even with a strong leadership core still intact, Marchand played with Bergeron long enough to know that a player that meant that much, for so long to an organization, will never really be replaced.
“His presence around the room, the gym, and on the ice. You can’t replace that,” Marchand acknowledged. “You know it will be a lot different this year. You say that as we go on it might get a little more comfortable, it might be more difficult. Those big moments where he normally steps up and controls things. It will be a little bit different, but something that we will all work through together.”