Notes: Recchi saw Tampa Bay lay foundation

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Notes: Recchi saw Tampa Bay lay foundation

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Three short years ago Mark Recchi was wearing a Lightning bolt logo across his chest and skating for a Tampa Bay hockey club long on top-shelf talent, but short on depth and quality wins.

Recchi was productive during his time with the Lightning and he certainly earned a few primary assists in the leadership department with a young scorer like Steven Stamkos in the mix. Recchi and retired forwardfitness guru Gary Roberts both had a profound impact on the young Stamkos, and helped shepherd him along once the Barry Melrose reign of terror finished up with the Bolts.

Recchi recalls his time with the Lightning fondly, and remembers fighting alongside Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier among other Tampa skaters before he was dealt to the Bruins in exchange for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums during the stretch of the 2008-09 season.

The Lightning were on their way down then when Recchi exited the scene, but Tampa Bay has restructured its management and ownership groups quickly, leading to a deep playoff run.

Its like any team. When there are skilled guys youve got to take time and space away from them, said Recchi of the Lightning players hes well acquainted with. Youve got to be on your toes and youve to get in their faces and make it hard for them. Obviously Stevie Yzerman has done a remarkable job there and they have new ownership. Its been a really good transition and they made some really good moves just stabilizing it. A lot of good things can happen once youre a stable organization. Its great because Tampa is an excellent place to play. Theyve got a good fan base and good crowds, and theyre very set for the future.

Nobody could have predicted at that point how meaningful Recchis time with the Bruins would be, but the future Hall of Famer has filled a huge need for the Black and Gold both on and off the ice. Recchi has 107 points and a plus-14 in his two plus seasons in Boston since the deal, and hes also inspired his teammates by playing through injuries and fighting to get close to the net against much bigger opponents despite his Barney Rubble-sized body.

When we did get him Recchi was more or less classified as a role player, said coach Claude Julien. But I think when he came in and scored quite a few goals when he first showed up to us. He was a real good player for us in the playoffs and a good leader.

Julien pointed to the 2008-09 playoffs as one of the things that really stuck out to the rest of the Bs players, as Recchi somehow played at the tail end of the Carolina series despite passing kidney stones.

To this day, younger players like Milan Lucic marvel at the memory of Recchi throwing up to the extreme pain in the hours leading up to the game, but then somehow breaking through to perform when his team needed him most. The young Bruins didnt win that series against the Hurricanes, but they started to understand what it takes to win.

If you guys remember that Carolina series where we didnt know if he would play Game 6 or not -- and what he went through -- he just showed show much battle and such a great example, said Julien. We felt real comfortable asking him to come back. I think the feeling was mutual. He came back and gave us another real good season last year.

Hes been good for us. We understand hes not the youngest player in the league, but his experience and what he brings to the table day in and day out is something this team really needs. Even this year hes been extremely good in the dressing room. The one thing you will never question about him is his work ethic, and at this time of year those guys become extremely important.

One other thing never to question about Recchi: Hell do absolutely everything possible to make a third Stanley Cup championship happen for the Bruins in the twilight of his amazing NHL career.

Tim Thomas said that hes in the middle of checking down a list of accomplishments hed set out for himself this summer.

Most people would put simple, attainable goals for themselves like losing 10 pounds or building an addition on their house, but the Thomas' list included becoming an All-Star, a Vezina Trophy finalist and, finally, a Stanley Cup champion.

Its amazing that Thomas is getting even close to his heady list of hockey accomplishments.

A lot of the stuff I've accomplished this year are goals that I actually set for myself last summer . . . not exactly to the number, but one goal I did have was to be a Vezina finalist. That's one of the things I thought of last summer, said Thomas. One goal, one dream that I thought a lot about was raising the Stanley Cup over my head. In that way I'm not surprised because they are goals that I made.

But the other side of that coin is you can make goals, but you never know whether you're going to be able to accomplish them.

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was asked by the media on Thursday morning to use one word to describe teammate and team pest Brad Marchand. Thorntons response: Short.

Recchi wasnt the biggest fan of the eight-day layoff between the Flyers series and the conference finals against the Lightning, but he really wasnt a fan of a night without playoff hockey on Wednesday night. Its a good thing the highly entertaining Game 7 between San Jose and Detroit was on tap last night.

Its been okay, but Wednesday night kind of sucked. It was a long day. No hockey on and I love to watch it. There are no playoff games on and Im like a lost soul flicking around on the TV. Wednesday was bad, but today was great because you knew theres only two days until you get started again.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.