Recchi still providing lessons after 22 years

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Recchi still providing lessons after 22 years

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- When the Chicago Blackhawks come to town, all eyes are on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The defending Stanley Cup duo represents the youth movement in the National Hockey League.

Parents bring their kids to games against Chicago to show them how the game should be played. Players like Kane and Toews are the face of the new NHL.

But on Tuesday night at the TD Garden, all the attention was on the face of the old NHL.

Whether he likes it or not, Mark Recchi is no spring chicken. At 43 years of age, Recchi certainly doesn't represent the league's youth movement. But he does represent one of the league's best role models, and after Tuesday night, he also represents the player who passed Paul Coffey for sole possession of 12th place all-time on the NHL points list, thanks to his second-period assist that helped put the Bruins up two goals in their eventual 3-0 win over the Blackhawks.

Recchi now has 1,532 career points in his 22nd NHL season. He Tuesday's game with a plus-2 rating. The only other Bruins player with that high of a rating was his linemate, Patrice Bergeron, who also finished as a plus-2, and recorded an assist on the B's first goal of the game.

After the game, Bergeron sat in front of his locker, in awe of his veteran winger's most recent accomplishment.

"It's unbelievable, if you think about it," said Bergeron. "It's big names that he's passing there. It's crazy how many points it is. I'm just happy to be on the ice with him, and to have a chance to enjoy something like that, I don't think I'll be there for that, on my side. I'm just happy for him.

"It's amazing," added Bergeron. "He's obviously going to be a Hall of Famer, and like I said, I feel blessed that I had a chance to be with him, and learn from him."

The line of Bergeron, Recchi, and Brad Marchand created plenty of offense on Tuesday night, but it was their ability to do what they do best -- hustle -- that made them so productive against the Blackhawks.

And it's that hard-working, blue-collar type approach that's made the line so special all season long.

Bergeron and Marchand learned that from Recchi.

"The way that he competes, and the way that he works to get his ice time, and to get his goals and his assists," said Bergeron, still in awe of Recchi. "Even though he's been playing for 22 years, it's amazing the way he gets ready for games and practices. He's always bringing out his A-game, and his 100 percent effort.

"It's something that I'm trying to duplicate, and do the same," added Bergeron. "It's amazing, the way he prepares on and off the ice, his leadership, and all that stuff, I'm learning a lot from."

Recchi's accomplishments stem from hard work, but also, good eating habits, late in his career. He took the advice of a few good friends, took care of his diet, and the training results paid off.

Now, Recchi's surrounded by much younger players, who are taking advice from him, and seem to care more about his career point total than he does.

"These guys probably get more excited than I do, right now," said Recchi. "But at the end of my career, I'll look back, and be proud of what I did, and how long I played.

"Bergy's unbelievable," added Recchi. "He was so excited about it. He's obviously been a big help to me, since I've been here. He's kept me young, and kept me going, and has been an unbelievable centerman for me. He couldn't congratulate me enough. He was just so excited. He's a great teammate, and a great friend. It's been fun."

"At the age he's at, the way he's performing, is pretty incredible," said coach Claude Julien. "He brings some wisdom into the dressing room. He also brings some enthusiasm. He's young at heart, and players sense that. But they also realize that they can certainly lean on him, at times when they need some advice or some help. It's not always easy to come knocking on the coach's door for certain things. But when you've got a player that's been around the league that long, he's pretty easy to go to. And that's where he's been really good for us, in that dressing room."

During his rookie year, the way Recchi figured it, he'd have been lucky if he got just 10 seasons in the show. Twenty-two seasons later, he's still having fun, and he's still moving up in the record books.

However, on Tuesday night, in a Bruins locker room that was filled with a team celebrating another win against another battle-tested hockey club, Recchi longed for something more. Not another goal, not another assist, but another Stanley Cup.

"That's what I came back for," said Recchi. "I know it's been a long time since this team's seen a hockey championship. I know the direction that general manager Peter Chiarelli wanted to go in, and I liked it. I still felt great in the summer time. I felt great after last season. I still felt I had something left in the tank at the end of the season even. So I knew I could train well enough to get ready for this year, so I was excited to come back and really try to do this thing."

He said that if he won a championship this year with the Bruins, he's "gone."

But regardless of what happens after this season, the lessons he taught will always remain.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.