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  • Bruins taking leadership by committee approach at captains’ practice

    Tim Rosenthal September 7, 2023

    An initial sign of hockey season began with the first of three captain’s practices commencing at Warrior Ice Arena during an unusually warm early fall day on Tuesday afternoon.

    As did the first skate of the post-Bergeron/Krejci era of Boston Bruins hockey.

    The Bruins knew this day would come for the past few seasons. The timing is a little less than ideal, as they’ll have to move on from two of their all-time greats just a few months removed from their catastrophic collapse against the Florida Panthers.

    Even if Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci decided to return, the B’s wouldn’t have duplicated their record-breaking regular season from 2022-23. But now they’ll have to avenge another disappointing ending to a previous season, and this time, they’ll have to do it without their long-time reliable first and second-line centers.

    Without their long-time cornerstones down the middle, a handful of Bruins shared responsibilities in running the informal training session in Brighton. But one sentiment remained true in the first early September skate: this year will feel a little unusual.

    “It’s definitely different,” forward Charlie Coyle said. “It’s been how long — 19, 20 years, right? It’s definitely different. We can talk all day about those guys. We all know what those guys mean and what they meant.”

    Of course, the first day without Bergeron and Krejci — albeit not in a formal team setting like training camp — won’t be the last time Coyle, Brad Marchand and the rest of the team discuss the impact Bergeron and Krejci left throughout the organization.

    The Bruins treated one another like family under Bergeron, Krejci, Zdeno Chara and countless veteran leaders who donned a black and gold sweater throughout the 2010s and early half of the 2020s. And in some ways, Tuesday marked the first day without a father figure looking after them.

    “Without those guys, especially Bergy not being around here, it’s just like your dad’s not here watching over you,” Coyle added. “It’s like when Bergy is here everything is great, everything’s all set. But we’re gonna miss those guys.”

    Replacing the leadership and production from Bergeron and Krejci won’t come easy. The 2023-24 Bruins will face significant obstacles, beginning with their center depth.

    But they’ll also need to find a new captain. Marchand, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy were all mentioned as possible successors to Bergeron following his three years of wearing the C.

    Pastrnak and McAvoy weren’t in attendance for the first captain’s practice. They’ll likely answer the captaincy question in the days leading up to the start of training camp.

    Perhaps they’ll echo Marchand’s sentiment during his first media session of the new hockey season. But regardless of who serves as captain, the Bruins will continue their leadership-by-committee approach during their centennial season.

    “It’s not something I’m thinking about too much,” the longest-tenured Bruin said regarding his possible ascension to the captaincy. “Obviously it’s a big honor to be in the leadership group and this organization with the guys who have been there before. But we’ve always [lead] collectively as a group. So no matter who wears [the ‘C’], it’s a collective thing.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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