Widely respected as one of the best leaders in the NHL, Recchi served as an alternate captain for the Black and Gold during the 2009-10 season while Marc Savard was out of the lineup. He held onto his role throughout the 2010-11 season, and his stabilizing presence in the dressing room helped Boston recover from two 0-2 deficits in the playoffs and help the franchise capture its first Cup since 1972.
With Rex gone, the B's now have a void to fill as an alternate captain beside main captain Zdeno Chara and fellow alternate Patrice Bergeron. Fortunately for the defending champs, there is no shortage of candidates to wear the 'A' as the Bruins boast a deep leadership corps.
Breaking into the league with the Penguins during the 1999-2000 season, defenseman Andrew Ference has the most NHL experience of anyone on the roster besides Big Z. A member of the Bruins since 2006, Ference scored a career-high four goals during last season's playoffs, including two in the Cup Final, and was a vocal presence on the ice throughout the series.
Known more as an enforcer than a scorer, Shawn Thornton would undoubtedly provide energy to the alternate captain role. At 34 years old, Thornton is the only member of the team to have two Cup wins to his resume, having captured hockey's ultimate prize with the Ducks in 2007. B's fans still hold Thornton in high regard for stepping up and fighting Matt Cooke in 2010 as retribution for Cooke's devastating hit on Savard. The tough guy posted career-best numbers last season, tallying 10 goals and 10 assists in 79 regular season games.
Though at 23 years old, he lacks the veteran wisdom of his elder peers, winger Milan Lucic is a fan favorite in Boston for his Cam Neely-like approach to the game. Lucic led the club in scoring last season, burying 30 goals and 32 assists in his fourth season with the B's. Many expect Looch to be the captain of the future, so giving him the alternate captain now could help him get a head start.
Though he has only one full season with the Bruins under his belt, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's consistent play has made him one of the squad's most dependable players. Pairing with Chara on the top blue line during last year's Cup run, Seidenberg posted a plus-12 rating and was instrumental in helping shut down opposing team's top players. Seidenberg's defensive prowess was especially noteworthy in the Final as Vancouver's tandem of Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for only five points in the seven-game series after finishing first and fourth respectively in the regular season in points.
With so many worthy candidates, head coach Claude Julien may choose to rotate the 'A' among multiple leaders. Julien employed that strategy in 2008-09, switching the alternate captain to different players on a monthly basis.