Mark Recchi rode off into the sunset this week, just as he hoped he'd do. Regardless of who the Bruins do or don't sign in the offseason, his absence will be the most notable change in the Boston locker room come October.
While his linemate and fellow alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron, is campaigning for him to come back for one more year, Recchi and the Bruins - and probably Bergeron himself - both know it's not happening. The void he'll leave behind is an obvious one for the team, but it's also a void for the equipment team, who will now have a new set of sweaters to sew an A onto.
The logical choice may be Tim Thomas, but we all saw what happened the last time a Stanley Cup contender gave their goaltender a leadership role - we're looking at you, Roberto Luongo.
It won't be Thomas. But it will be somebody else. The likely candidates? Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton.
My vote? Ference. Never has there been a guy so quick to come to the aid of his teammates on or off the ice, and there are few who are more comfortable in front of the media. Ference is both, and he'd be a great mediator between Boston and his team.
But there are arguments for other candidates, to be sure. What's yours?