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.