The Bear Essentials: Which Bruin Deserves The ‘A’

The Bear Essentials By Mark Feldman, 98.5 The Sports Hub

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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  • cj

    Though I agree that Ference most deserving to get the A, I don’t see Thorton even being considered. The reason has nothing to do with Thorton not being a good leader, but it does have to do with his playing time. Thorton is not on the ice enough for it to be beneficial to give him the A.

    One of the main purposes for players wearing the C or A on their jerseys, is these players are allowed to speak to the referees in regards to calls. These three guys are the only ones really allowed to complain about calls or ask the referee to stop by the bench so the coach can have a word. With Thorton’s enforcer role he spends a good amount of the time in the box, and won’t see the 20 mins a night that Ference would. It doesn’t make sense to give a guy an A who plays under 10 mins a night.

    Thorton will be a positive locker room presence with or without the A. He always has. He is a guy who understands and relishes his role on the team, and unlike other player who have a similar role in the league, Thorton has always been one to honor the code- Thorton does not take runs at star players, and has never gone after somebody that didn’t have it coming.

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