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.

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

The mission for the Bruins on their four-game road swing through the West Coast is certainly to keep the momentum going, but it’s also to quell any talk that the positive results will be short-lived following the coaching change.

The Bruins won there first three games interim head coach Bruce Cassidy headed into the five-day “bye week”, and they’ll come out on the other side with a potentially dangerous road swing through California that will finish up in Dallas next weekend. 

The Black and Gold have gone into death spirals before on the Cali trip, so that’s always a danger when going coast-to-coast to face tough teams in the Sharks, Ducks and Kings.

There’s also the fact that NHL teams are 3-10-2 as of Saturday afternoon in the first game coming back from the five-day midseason vacation. That means the B’s are going to face a stiff uphill battle on Sunday night against the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. 

The challenge is going to be there for the Bruins to answer all of those challenges when they’ve shrunk away from such adversity most of the season. It gives the Bruins yet another chance to show that the three games aren’t merely a sugar-high after cages had been rattled and is instead something that Boston sustains over the season’s final two-plus months.

“Our thinking is to try to win every game. We know the standings. We know it’s pretty tight. We put ourselves in some of the games in tough situations. Now, we’ve got to climb up and fight for every point,” said Zdeno Chara. “It’s going to be very important that we do that and play that way until the end.

“We can look at the standings as much as we want. I think that we really have to focus on how we play, how we want to go into every game, and what we can do to get as many points as possible.”

The good news for the Bruins is that the teams chasing them in the standings really haven’t gained ground on them, and they enter Saturday still in a playoff spot. So, the mathematics don’t look as dire for Boston as they did going into their rest period, and now they should be energized, recharged and highly motivated headed into the final 24 games of the season.

There’s also the fact that the Bruins were playing exciting, aggressive and winning hockey due to some of the tweaks made by Cassidy after taking control of the team. He finally got some production from the third line after putting forwards Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes together, a combo he never truly gave a look because he didn’t trust them to do the job defensively. Cassidy immediately placed 21-year-old Peter Cehlarik into a top-six role with power-play time straight from the AHL. That’s something one almost never saw happen with rookies and inexperienced guys during Julien’s run.

The B’s defensemen corps scored four goals in the three wins and showed aggressive, timely risk-taking to produce offense when playing it safe was normally the call of the day under Julien. The forwards were avoiding the low-to-high passing to the point that so often resulted in perimeter shots from the Bruins in the offensive zone, and instead attacked the net down low with the forwards looking to put some anxiety into the opponent’s D-zone coverage.

It all worked and it all looked remarkably different from the way the Bruins played in the opening 55 games.

“It’s something we need to bottle up and not change our approach, not change what we’re doing, make sure we’re moving [during the bye] and not just sitting idle and getting rusty,” said David Backes last weekend headed into the bye. “Make sure that mentally, we can have those same sort of mindsets for every guy to be contributing. It’s something that doesn’t show up on the score sheet, but guys are recognized in here for doing those things and that’s winning culture. That’s what we’re building.”

The Bruins now get their chance to prove this is a permanent change to a winning culture rather than a short term, three-game adrenaline rush after watching their longtime coach get fired. It won’t be easy, but it shouldn’t be for the Black and Gold if they’re finally going to earn their way into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in three seasons. 

Saturday, Feb. 18: NHL more likely in Seattle than NBA?

Saturday, Feb. 18: NHL more likely in Seattle than NBA?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while hoping that Purple Passion doesn’t try the same comeback as Zima.

*A Seattle investor says that an NHL team coming to that city is much more likely than a return by the NBA to the Pacific Northwestern city.

*Gare Joyce writes eloquently about the loneliness of a hockey scout, and how that world can sometimes come to a crashing halt.  

*Good piece from Arpon Basu giving the sights and sounds of Claude Julien’s second stint behind the bench with the Montreal Canadiens.

*The agent for Russian player Maxim Shalunov says there is a “10 percent chance” that he’s going to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks.

*Mike Babcock says not to expect any big trade deadline deals from the Toronto Maple Leafs as they push for a playoff spot.

*Henrik Zetterberg reflects on a difficult season with the Detroit Red Wings where it looks like things might finally come down to a crashing halt.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nhl/red-wings/2017/02/17/red-wings-zetterberg-reflects-tough-season/98064530/

*The Minnesota Wild have underrated depth on their team, and the Hockey News says it might just be their scariest attribute.

*For something completely different: as referenced above, it looks like that Zima drink of the 1990s is trying to make a comeback. I was in college when the Zima people were seemingly flooding campuses with advertising and samples back in the day.