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The Bear Essentials: Which Bruin Deserves The ‘A’

The Bear Essentials By Mark Feldman, 98.5 The Sports Hub
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) and forward Shawn Thornton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) and forward Shawn Thornton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

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Champions!

BOSTON (CBS) – With the departure of Mark Recchi, there is a vacancy on the Boston Bruins that remains an issue yet to be resolved.

Who will get the “A” on their jersey?

Or better yet, who on this team is truly qualified enough to fill the leadership role of the alternate captain position?

First and foremost, I would expect someone with veteran experience to be in consideration. Someone who knows and understands the Bruins culture, their fans and what it takes to get the job done.

Seguin? Too young.

Lucic? Not yet a leader.

Horton? Too new to the city.

Looking over the team roster, there are two names that stand out. Two individuals who wear their hearts on their sleeves and know what it means to be a Bruin; Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton.

Both veterans. Both experienced. Both get it.

Read: Mark Feldman’s Blog: The Bear Essentials

Although Thornton is the revenge seeking\fan favorite bad ass, I would ultimately have to side with Andrew Ference for the role. Now calm down, we all love Thornton, he’s awesome, he’s great and all that other fun stuff. The fact is that in a leadership role, I’m looking for something more, production.

To start, Ference has the edge when it comes to regular season career stats. Let’s face it, both players aren’t great when it comes to scoring goals, with just 25 career tallies for Thornton versus 27 for Ference. However, Ference does lead the enforcer by 69 assists in his career (129 to 35). In terms of experience, Ference wins out again having played a total of 640 regular season games in his professional career while Thornton sits at 369.

Read/Watch: Ference Brings Cup Back To Boston

Thornton gets the upper hand when it comes to penalty minutes with 618 minutes over his eight-year career. Surprised? Probably not. What you should be surprised is that Andy isn’t too far behind with 564. Although Ference has clearly played more games, it’s an impressive number.

In the postseason, the time when when it matters most, Andrew Ference has been a much more productive player with a total average of 7 goals, 25 assists and +/- of 118. Thornton’s post season record consists on an average of 1 goal, 1 assist and +/- of -8.

Before you say anything, yes, Thornton does have the extra ring. However, Ference has Finals’ experience as well with the 2003-2004 Calgary Flames.

Finally, both players understand the culture here. They get it. From Thornton’s revenge on Matt Cooke to Ference’s “unintentional bird” to the fans of Montreal, both players share a similar intensity and a passion for the game. It’s the production that separates the two and from that stand point, Ference is my guy.

Simply put, Ference has more experience. That’s what I want. That’s what I’m looking for in my team leaders.

With both his career stats and passion for the team, I think that number-21 is best fit to wear the “A.”

Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @mfsports21

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