Could Recchi return to Bruins in front office role?

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Could Recchi return to Bruins in front office role?

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Theres no way to replace a living legend like Mark Recchi.

The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer capped off his amazing career by winning his third career Stanley Cup with the Bruins last spring, and was adamant that he wont be having any second thoughts about returning as a player.

But Recchi will still be involved in the world of hockey in a myriad of ways, even though his days as a shot-tipping wrecking ball are over. The Bruins winger doesnt want to go into coaching, but hes voiced an interest in getting involved at the management level while already gathering experience as a partial owner of his hometown Kamloops Blazers over the last several years.

It was thought the Bruins might be a comfy fit for Recchi, given the respect factor among the current core of players, and the existing appreciation for his beautiful mind when it comes to the game of hockey. But the Pittsburgh Penguins a city where Recchi and his family still make their home have also been a team that might be interested in their former scoring force.

Bruins president Cam Neely was asked about Recchis potential future in management with the Black and Gold, and Neely indicated the ball was in Recchis court when he decided which direction his future would hold.

Mark is going to get a well deserved break, I think, said Neely during the State of the Bruins event for season ticket-holders during a question-and-answer session. I think hes going to take some time, like I think he mentioned. Well certainly revisit that if Mark knocks on our door.

The thing I love is having as many ex-players around as possible. We have many of them around the city and I like it when they get involved with the team -- especially when they know what it means to be a Boston Bruins. Thats something you cant have enough of."

As for on the ice, the Bruins have invited gritty veteran Chris Clark to training camp on a tryout and have several wingers to potentially plug in with the Patrice BergeronBrad Marchand combo. It could be Rich Peverley, given his skating wheels and offensive burst, or it could be Tyler Seguin if the 19-year-old has made a quantum leap forward in his game.

Claude Julien said the players will decide who replaces Recchi as assistant captain of the team, and Shawn Thornton thinks its up to each of the 17 returning players to shoulder some of the leadership responsibility.

Itll have to be by committee," Thornton said. "Hes one of a kind. I mean a guy that wins three Cups that really speaks for itself. With everything he did off the ice, Recchi is a special man. Thats for sure. Shane Hnidy too. A lot of things that you guys wouldnt have seen behind the scenes involved Hnidy too.

Itll have to be a group effort and there are a few other guys that are another year older and more experienced, and will probably bring a little more to the table too. Well miss that leadership a little bit, but theres also some other guys that maybe its time for them to step up and fill that void a little bit too.

The Bs will have to fill that leadership void whether Recchi fills a front office role or not on Causeway Street, but the 43-year-old has left a pretty good foundation behind no matter where he ends up.

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

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.