By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Patrice Bergeron has carried himself like the captain of an NHL team for more than a decade. So when longtime captain Zdeno Chara left via free agency at the end of December, the choice for the Bruins was obvious.

That, however, didn’t stop the Bruins from pulling a fun little prank on Thursday.

In the locker room at Warrior Ice Arena, team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney spoke to the team to make an important announcement. Sweeney revealed that they were there to announce the new team captain.

“I’m not even going to belabor the point,” Sweeney said. “I think I’m just going to ask Marchy to come up and accept the captaincy.”

Sweeney then unfurled a No. 63 Brad Marchand jersey with a big, fat C on the chest.

Marchand, who’s been Bergeron’s linemate since 2011, couldn’t keep the joke going for too long.

“I’m really looking forward to taking this next step,” said Marchand, whose smile was obvious despite wearing a mask. “But … you know, I think we all know who the real captain is.”

At that point, Marchand congratulated Bergeron, who then stepped up to accept his new jersey and deliver a brief speech.

“It’s not about the letter,” Bergeron said. “It’s about coming together as a team, everyone taking ownership of this locker room. … I’m going to try to better myself and keep leading by example and still try to be me and keep learning from all of you guys.”

Obviously, considering the Bruins had images of Bergeron wearing the C at the ready for their big announcement on Thursday …

… the locker room stunt was just an excuse to run a pretty funny ruse in front of the camera. Still, that Marchand jersey with the C should become a nice piece of memorabilia, and moreover, spending even 10 seconds imagining the rage and fury that would come from Marchand skating around with that C on his chest is sure to elicit a solid belly laugh.

Marchand will be wearing a letter on his chest, as he was named a permanent alternate captain, along with David Krejci, who’s carried that honor for years.

It’s not quite the same as the C, but it nevertheless shows that Marchand has come a long way in his NHL journey.