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

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.