NHL Notebook: Brad Marchand named 27th captain in Boston Bruins history and Toronto Maple Leafs looking towards identity shift with offseason acquisitions

Photo credit:Boston Bruins
Aleena Aksenchuk
6 months ago
A vibrant new chapter is unfolding in Boston, guided by the leadership of Brad Marchand, who the Boston Bruins officially named him their 27th captain in franchise history.
July marked the end of an era for the Bruins when beloved leader Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement after a stunning 19-year career. There was no question that the ship needed a new commander, and for many fans in Boston, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that the next person they’d pass the torch to would be Marchand.
The news was announced on the Bruins’s social media pages Wednesday morning with a video showcasing the ‘C’ being sown onto Marchand’s No. 63 jersey, unveiling him as their new captain.
Since his selection by the Bruins in the 2006 NHL draft (71st overall), Marchard’s heart has beat in harmony with the iconic Boston black and yellow colours, turning himself into one of the trademark players of the organization. The forward is currently the longest-serving Bruin on the roster and the sole remaining link to the 2011 Stanley Cup victory team.
“I am extremely proud and honored,” Marchand expressed in a press conference.
“It means more to me than I think anyone will ever know to be able to wear a ‘C’ for this team. When you look at the leaders that have been here before me and the guys that I’ve been fortunate enough to be under, they take an incredible amount of pride. Everything that they can possibly lead into this team, they do. It’s been incredible to see, but I see the work that goes into it … and I really believe that I’ve witnessed two of the best leaders of all time being in this organization.”
Marchand had a first-hand look at the leadership and tenacity that both Bergeron (2020 to 2023) and 14-year captain Zdeno Chara (2006 to 2020) brought to the Bruins organization and has represented the team as an alternate captain since 2018-19.
Beyond his Stanley Cup triumph, Marchard’s illustrious 14 years in the NHL have seen him compete in 947 games, amassing an impressive 372 goals and 862 points. The news also came with the announcement that forwards David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy would serve as alternate captains, further reinforcing the team’s leadership core.

Toronto Maple Leafs eyeing an identity shift

Nov 27, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Reaves (75) laughs with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to leave their second-round playoff exit far, far in the past, and are looking towards a newer, tougher identity as they gear up to begin the 2023-24 campaign. 
“We need a little bit more snot to our game,” general manager Brad Treliving told reporters in July when the team acquired forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi. 
If you watched the 2023 playoffs, you know that the Leafs market was in all its glory after advancing to the second round for the first time in 19 years only to have their hopes extinguished by the Florida Panthers in five games. Toronto encountered plenty of difficulties against Florida’s strategies, and those struggles left them consistently trailing on the scoreboard and exhausting themselves, trying to recover. It certainly didn’t help when Florida defenceman Radko Gudas taunted Leafs netminder Joseph Woll by screaming in his face after their series win. 
Trevliving recognized the need for change when he took the reigns as general manager back in May, just weeks before free agency kicked off on July 1st. Without delay, Trevliving started making moves to fortify the team’s competitive edge, including the acquisition of enforcer Ryan Reaves, forwards Bertuzzi and Domi, and robust depth defenceman Simon Benoit. 
“I should probably have never used the word snot, I’ve heard a lot about that,” Treliving joked to the media on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it was about remaking the identity, as much as it’s, I firmly believe there’s a style you need to play at the very most important times. It’s as much a mentality as it is anything else. I know there’s been lots of talk about the abrasiveness. These are also good players. To me they’re players that can play inside, get to areas that are hard to get to when the games matter the most… we’ve all watched games in April, May, and June. It didn’t change 10 years ago, and it’s not going to change in 10 years. There’s no space, it’s a harder game, you’ve got to fight through traffic, and so the more players you can have with that mentality and that skill set, I think it helps you.”
The new additions are poised to alter the dynamic of the Toronto team on the ice, but there is plenty of excitement from the team regarding the potential off-ice contributions, most notably in Ryan Reaves. The group holds the reputation of having a quiet dressing room, but with the addition of the boisterous forward, he may have a significant impact on the squad off the ice. 
“Any time you can add a unique personality that brings a different side of the game and different aspects, especially the type of player or role that Ryan plays, we’re excited about that and how he can (lift up) the group in certain areas,” John Tavares said.
“He’s loud, but he’s a very intelligent guy. He understands the dynamic of the league, of the game, of the locker room, different people, different players. So it’s been fun getting to know him here and being around him.”
Treliving has adjusted the dial even more from the contributions of former GM Kyle Dubas when he brought in grittier players such as Ryan O’Reilly, Jake McCabe, and Sam Lafferty. As the 2023-24 season is only weeks away, the team is excited about how their new additions will help their competitive game on and off the ice and bring forth a new grittier identity. 

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