scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Catching up with Bruins coach Jim Montgomery about Patrice Bergeron’s successor, Milan Lucic, and Jake DeBrusk

Bruins coach Jim Montgomery talked about the team at the Bruins annual charity golf tournament at the Pinehills Golf Course.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

PLYMOUTH — Bobby Orr remains the face of the franchise.

As Bruins legends mixed with current players at Pinehills Golf Club Wednesday morning, the first mug that greeted them all belonged to Orr, still the brightest star in franchise history.

Still possessing a hint of the baby face that took Boston — and the entire hockey world — by storm back in 1966, Orr, 75, dished out hundreds of hugs and handshakes and posed for a plethora of pictures at the 20th annual event, which raises money for the Boston Bruins Foundation.

“Well, it’s a wonderful event to connect the past to the present, but more importantly for me, it signifies how close we are to getting started and the excitement that goes with that,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, who noted that he golfed earlier this summer with Orr and another Hall of Fame defenseman, Ray Bourque.

“Ever heard of them?” Montgomery asked through laughter.


Montgomery, eager to put the memories of last season’s disappointing first-round playoff loss to the Panthers in the rearview, would receive subtle reminders of that series over the summer.

“I would say [I learned] how much the Bruins fans are passionate,” he said, sticking with his lighthearted mood. “I’d play golf outside of Massachusetts and I’d get some friendly bounces. The trees [around here] were mad at me. I’d go further into the bush when I hit the trees with my golf shots.”

Turning his attention back to the upcoming NHL season, Montgomery touched on several subjects before teeing off.

Jim Montgomery (right) and recently-retired Patrice Bergeron were both in attendance at the Bruins annual charity golf tournament.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

⋅On naming a successor to Patrice Bergeron.

“We’re trending in the right direction towards someone being our captain next year,” said Montgomery, confirming that someone will wear the “C” rather than having a rotation from the alternate captain list. “We’ve had internal conversations and I think decisions will be made. I don’t know if there’s a timeline decided yet.”


Montgomery is confident he has a quality field of leaders no matter who is named captain.

“We lost a lot of leadership people last year. We just didn’t lose Bergy. We lost [David Krejci], we lost [Nick] Foligno, so players that were very important,” he said. “But everyone’s watched those players, especially Bergy, for years and there’s a lot of players that have worn the spoked B for a long time and care about the culture and how we compete and how we carry ourselves.”

⋅ On why he thinks Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle can step into the top center spots, vacated by Bergeron and Krejci.

“Because of seeing them in big games, Games 3 and 4 [of the Florida series they] played 19 to 20 minutes and seeing them play as well as they did,” he said. “Now I’m hoping they don’t have to play 20 minutes a night, but we know they can handle that and that they can handle all three zones of work.”

Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha are the apparent leaders on the Bruins depth chart at center.Maddie Meyer/Getty

⋅ On what he envisions from Milan Lucic.

“Maybe we don’t get hit as much. Maybe Marchy (Brad Marchand) won’t get hit as much because Looch is in the lineup,” said the coach. “But I’m still going to want Looch to be a person that decides momentum in the games. Going out there, his line after goal scored against or for and carrying the momentum of the team, recognizing when we’re losing momentum, going out there making a big hit or getting to the net front, crashing the net. Very similar things that Foligno did for us, but probably because of his history here, carrying more weight within that role as far as how he impacts [the game], especially at home.”


⋅ On his expectations for Jake DeBrusk, who is entering a contract year.

“He’s going into the prime of his career. I think he’s ready to be a go-to player and not a complementary player, but a player that drives the line,” he said. “Him and I have spoken a lot about that, that said, he was really good for us for 90 percent of the games. Well Bergeron, I could rely on 100 percent of the games. There’s 10 percent that needs to be made up and he’s got to carry a little bit of that weight. Not only him but a lot of others, but I think mentally he wants that and he’s ready for it.”

⋅ On the identity of this year’s club, considering the changes in offensive personnel.

“I think with who our goalies are and with our [defensive] corps, we’re clearly in the top of the league in those departments and we’re probably going to rely a lot more on our D-men as far as how we play and our team identity of them having more of an impact at all 200 feet of the ice,” he said. “Not only scoring, but also we had four centers last year that all knew how we played our D zone, so we killed a lot of plays because of them. We might need them to kill a lot more plays in the offensive zone or in the neutral zone with their skating ability and their hockey sense and competitive level, so we don’t end up in our D zone because we don’t have those same layers coming back. Those are things that we think that we can ask our D corps to do and that they probably want to do.”


Jim McBride can be reached at Follow him @globejimmcbride.