By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The 2021 Boston Bruins are not short on locker room leadership. Captain Patrice Bergeron, alternate captains David Krejci and Brad Marchand and goaltender Tuukka Rask are all members of the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning Bruins and have been a key member of the Bruins organization for the better part of a decade now.
However, Father Time has and always will be undefeated. Someday in the future, those players will move on to greener pastures, likely in the form of retirement or perhaps signing with another team – similar to former B’s captain Zdeno Chara. As difficult as it is to look into the future like that, it’s inevitable, but it does open the door for the next generation of Boston Bruins to take ownership of the new core. Brandon Carlo has kicked open that door.
Earlier in February, the Bruins played in their fourth outdoor game in franchise history – this time at Lake Tahoe with the picturesque backdrop surrounding the rink. Forward David Krejci was sidelined from this game with an upper-body injury, leaving a vacancy for the alternate captaincy spot. The Bruins awarded it to Brandon Carlo for the game.
It wasn’t the first time Carlo has worn the “A” in his hockey career as he proudly wore the letter on his chest during two seasons with the Tri-City Americans in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Carlo was also named an alternate captain in the 2015 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game while on Team Cherry. Although, those experiences didn’t compare to Lake Tahoe.
“That was amazing,” Carlo said Tuesday. “That was probably the biggest honor of my life to walk in the locker room [Sunday] and see the ‘A’ on my sweater.
Carlo didn’t dominate the statlines in the 7-3 blowout win over the Phildelphia Flyers, but did lead the team in hits with four and had a blocked shot to his name while skating for 21:16, the second-highest ice-time total this season so far. Carlo had a solid 61.22 CF% in the game as well, so not a bad outing for the 24-year-old.
With that said, being a leader at the NHL level requires more than just solid play on the ice. It also means being a leader off the ice – during the practices, in the locker room before, during, and after the game, and how you portray yourself to the media.
On Friday, February 26th, the Bruins suffered their second-consecutive loss in back-to-back nights – each one being an embarrassing blowout at the hands of a New York team. Following the 6-2 loss to the Rangers, Brandon Carlo spoke with the media and said the following:
“This doesn’t happen here and it can’t go on any further than this. … This is definitely unacceptable and we’ve got to look in the mirror and move forward, but recognize and learn from the past two days.”
Carlo, drafted only six years ago in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is already putting the team on his back in a leadership role. This quote from Friday shows his understanding of Bruins hockey and what is considered Boston’s “standard” in the modern-day. Coming out to the public and announcing that the recent poor play “can’t go further than this” is big and puts a lot of additional pressure on the young defenceman’s back.
The Bruins have a rematch against the Rangers tomorrow, a golden opportunity to redeem themselves from the two sub-par performances. If the Bruins do come out with the two points, come back to this quote from Carlo. What he said means something and has “future captain” written all over it.
Will Brandon Carlo one day wear the “C” for the Bruins? Time will have to tell. However, his words and recent play as a defenceman under the age of 25 is special and I would not be surprised if Carlo leads the future Boston Bruins.