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Brad Marchand doesn't need to be named Bruins captain to be a team leader

Brad Marchand on potentially being named captain of the Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand on potentially being named captain of the Boston Bruins 00:36

BOSTON -- Several members of the Boston Bruins hit the ice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena for the team's first captains' practice of the new season. There's just one big caveat to this year's gathering: The Bruins don't currently have anyone with a "C" on their sweater. 

Boston has yet to name a successor to Patrice Bergeron, who called it a career after an incredible 19 seasons with the Bruins. Bergeron held the title for three seasons, after taking the torch from Zdeno Chara, who was Boston's captain from 2006-2020.

The leadership atop the Bruins has been pretty stable for nearly two decades, but now the team heads into a bit of the unknown. Losing Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement in the same offseason obviously subtracts a lot of leadership from the B's equation. 

And while Bergeron missed captains' practices in the past, Boston center Charlie Coyle said that Tuesday's practice felt very different.

"Without those guys, especially Bergy not being around here, it's just like your dad's not here watching over you," Coyle said, half-joking. "It's like when Bergy is here everything is great, everything's all set. But we're gonna miss those guys."

Replacing Bergeron's playmaking on the ice is one thing, but his leadership is a whole different animal. 

"As we go on it might be more comfortable but it might be more difficult, like in those big moments that pop up and he would take control," noted longtime Bergeron linemate Brad Marchand. "It's a big loss for our group but it gives other guys an opportunity to step up and carve out a different path for themselves. Maybe more leadership or more minutes carrying the load."

Marchand, who is now 35 as he heads into his 15th NHL season with the Bruins, is a prime candidate to earn that "C" on his sweater. But whether that letter gets added to his uniform or not, Marchand is still going to do everything in his power to be the leader that the Bruins need.

And it won't just fall on his shoulders, even if he does earn the title of team captain.

"It's not something that I really think about too much. Obviously, it's a big honor to be in the leadership group in this organization, when you look at the guys that have been there before. But we've always done it collectively as a group," said Marchand. "So regardless of who wears it, it's a collective thing. Even guys without letters step up a lot of times throughout the year.

"When you lose Bergie and Krej, leadership is going to come from a group, not from one certain guy or a couple of guys," Marchand continued. "It's going to be from a big collective group. So that's what we're going to rely on this year."

Marchand said the team will rely heavily on players like Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo, and Hampus Lindholm to continue to evolve and advance as leaders in the dressing room. As for Tuesday, Marchand was happy to serve as the de facto leader of the bunch at Warrior.

"I definitely feel that burden and the responsibility. It comes with the territory from being around for a while and just kind of how things go," he said. "The torch gets passed down and when it's time to kind of lead the way you got to do it." 

Whether that torch ultimately gets passed to Marchand before the season remains to be known. But even if he doesn't end up with a new patch for his sweater, the longest-tenured Bruins player is going to do everything he can to help lead the team into the great unknown.

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