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Bergeron Named Bruins Captain, Pumps New Life Into Team Without Chara

The Bruins have officially named their 20th team captain,

The Boston Bruins have officially named Patrice Bergeron their 20th captain in team history. Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs said of the decision, “There is no doubt in my mind that Patrice is the natural successor to the Captain role, and he will represent this franchise very well.” Bergeron takes over for former captain Zdeno Chara.

Related: Chara’s Departure Represents Changing of the Guard in Boston

Full disclosure here, the Boston Bruins are my team. As such, it was a bit disheartening to hear that the team’s captain over the past 14 years, Zdeno Chara had signed in Washington with the Capitals. Unsurprisingly, the big Slovak handled the transaction and his impending departure with pure gentlemanly class. A fierce competitor on the ice, but big-hearted teddy bear off it, he made an indelible imprint on the Suffolk County, Massachusetts community.

Related: Zdeno Chara Reveals Why He Really Left the Bruins for the Capitals

Admittedly, it was not a huge surprise to hear that the Bruins played a part in the ultimate decision.  Meaning, Chara wanted to return, but Boston wwas looking to develop a younger defensive core. Knowing my affinity for the Bruins, my Father asked me what my thoughts were on Chara leaving Boston. I had a few different things that came to mind.

Bruins New Leadership Group

My response highlighted Chara’s age related decline in play, but also that the team would obviously miss his large presence and suffer a huge loss in the leadership department. However, many Bruin fans could argue that the team has had a legitimate co-captain for years in Patrice Bergeron. As an organizational outsider, I could never confirm it, but I would wager that it is doubtful that there was ever definitive hierarchy between these two players.

That also means that Bergeron is the obvious successor as captain of the Bruins. If fans had any doubt, GM Don Sweeney basically confirmed that sentiment earlier this week.

At 35, Bergeron will now officially take the reigns of this Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup contender. Even Chara has fully endorsed him as the man now. He said, “He’s going to be an unbelievable captain and leader.” That may be all the Bruins need, for now.

The Bruins have been criticized for the lack of offseason activity and may get more heat for allowing Chara to walk, and for so little. Even if I did not have a piece of Boston in my heart you could easily argue that criticism is unjustified.

Quiet Offseason

It is true that the team has been quiet this Fall but sometimes making big offseason alterations can be counterproductive. Especially when you still have a great core group of players – Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrňák, and Charlie McAvoy – that could easily contend and even get back to the Cup finals as they did in 2018-19. Boston also recently extended a few hometown staple players in Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelcyk on a long-term basis. 

Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins

The team also has two key players reaching UFA status after 2021, as all-star goaltender Tuukka Rask and center David Krejčí finish lengthy/hefty contracts. Bruin critics would be wise to remember that there is likely further organizational changes on the horizon so it is critical that the team plans patiently.

At the end of the day, Chara will forever be remembered as a massive and integral part of Boston Bruin history. As a huge fan of the big man I wish him nothing but the best in Washington and beyond!

Zdeno Chara during the 2011 Stanley Cup celebrations.

Happy New Year to NHLTT readers – cheers to 2021!

NEXT: Zdeno Chara Signs With Washington Capitals [Report]

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