By Mike Miccoli, Boston Bruins Correspondent
The debate as to who should replace Mark Recchi as alternate captain for the Boston Bruins was settled this morning when coach Claude Julien announced that defenseman Andrew Ference and center Chris Kelly would share the vacated “A.”
The pair would share the title with Ference wearing the “A” for all Bruins home games while Kelly will don the honor for road games. Julien said the two would switch assignments halfway through the season.
It seemed as though Ference was a lock for the distinction in part to his heavy leadership in the locker room and the big push made by fans of the organization but both he and Kelly received a ringing endorsement from Recchi himself on Tuesday night claiming that either would make a “wonderful” alternate.
This will be Ference’s sixth season with the team, originally acquired midway through the 2006-07 season from the Calgary Flames along with Chuck Kobasew, in exchange for Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau, making him the final remnant from the Joe Thornton blockbuster on Boston’s active roster. Ference finished the 2010-2011 season with three goals and 12 assists in 70 games–the most that he’s played in one season since joining the Bruins. He finished the season in the top-25 for plus/minus with a +22.
Kelly was acquired two weeks prior to the trade deadline last season from the Ottawa Senators for a 2011 second round draft pick. In 24 games, Kelly tallied two goals and three assists with a -1 for a full-season total of 14 goals and 14 assists in 81 games. Kelly played a vital role in the Bruins championship campaign finishing 7th on the team in scoring with five goals and eight assists in 25 games.
The Bruins will open their season Thursday night at the Garden by raising their 2011 Stanley Cup Champions banner against the Philadelphia Flyers.