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

Sunday, Sept. 25: Has Connolly found home with Caps?

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Sunday, Sept. 25: Has Connolly found home with Caps?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering what a crap shot this Presidential debate is going to be on Monday night.

*Brett Connolly has hooked on with the Washington Capitals, and the Caps hope they’ve found a “gem” in the former Bruins winger.

*John Tortorella is putting his Blue Jackets through an absolute boot camp thus far in Columbus. Bold strategy…I wonder how this will play out.

*The Pittsburgh Penguins appreciate the gifts of defenseman Kris Letang, even if Team Canada didn’t for the World Cup.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ken Wiebe has the details on Jacob Trouba asking to get moved from the Winnipeg Jets.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Saturday night’s World Cup of Hockey showdown between Russia and Canada as another chapter in the Alex Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby rivalry.

*It’s sad to see respected veteran player Clarke MacArthur have to be helped off the ice after a vicious hit in a training camp scrimmage. What a dumb move by a guy that’s never going to crack the Senators roster.

*For something completely different: a good father/son piece on learning to appreciate things that your kids are interested in, and how rewarding it can be in the end.

 

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Bruins management has been in a holding pattern waiting for something to “shake free” in the top-four defensemen department and that might have finally happened this weekend.

With the news on Saturday that Jacob Trouba won’t be reporting to training camp with the Winnipeg Jets and has asked for a trade, a player is becoming available that the Black and Gold have had their eyes on for months and months.

CSN was the first to report that the Bruins were putting together a plan for an offer sheet for the 22-year-old American-born defenseman back in June, but that never materialized. GM Don Sweeney eventually backed off that aggressive plan to nab a player they have tapped as a top-four, right-shot defenseman, but clearly there is still interest from a Boston team that literally did nothing to upgrade their back end over the summer.

Cam Neely admitted to CSN a couple of weeks ago that the Bruins were still positioned to make a move for a D-man if something opened up on the market.

“Basically from April to now everybody is talking about our back end, and not being able to land a top-four defenseman. We still have an opportunity as far as cap space goes if something shakes free, and I know Don [Sweeney] has been working hard trying to do something,” said Neely. “But I feel like as a group we can do better than we did last year.

“I think Tuukka [Rask] can play better than he did last year. If that happens we should be a better club. It’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be competitive. But I feel like the changes we’ve made through the organization, and not just in player personnel, that there’s opportunity for our group to improve.”

Well, here’s a memo for the B’s brass on Causeway Street: things just opened up as high and wide as a vintage Rich Peverley shot off the high glass. The ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft is going to be made available and will undoubtedly be the best defenseman to move in trade between now and the start of the regular season.

He’d also go a long way toward providing the B’s with the kind of bridge D-man that could improve markedly in the present, and allow the back end to be much closer to good until young defenesmen Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Brandon Carlo are ready for prime time.

This Saturday night statement from agent Kurt Overhardt explains the situation succinctly, but basically Trouba doesn’t want wind his career away stuck behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the right side of Winnipeg’s defense.

“Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter,” said Overhardt in the statement. “There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.

“To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end.”

Clearly, Trouba will draw big interest around the league: he’s a 6-foot-1, 200-pound, right-shot defenseman who posted 10 goals and 29 points in his rookie season as a teenager and has averaged more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league. 

This is yet another chance for Sweeney and Co. to close a deal on a defenseman and finally start to address some of the damage done while shipping away Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton in successive years. It will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny in terms of assets, but there has to be a reason why Sweeney has been stockpiling centers headed into training camp.

A package of Ryan Spooner, Joe Morrow and a first-round pick would be considerable, but it also might not be enough to get a deal done for a high-demand talent in Trouba. Undoubtedly the Jets would also for a blue chip D-man prospect such as Carlo, or perhaps they’d be more interested in  veteran right-shot option Adam McQuaid, who could immediately replace Trouba in the Winnipeg lineup.

The worst-case scenario is Kevin Cheveldayoff taking a page from the Kevin Shattenkirk trade talks, and both starting and ending any conversations with David Pastrnak as the main trade chip. The Bruins have made it clear they’re done “sprinkling their talent around the rest of the league” as one B’s front office exec made clear to CSN.   

The bottom line: it’s not going to be easy, but this is exactly the kind of situation where Sweeney needs to become a closer rather than a lamenter who starts an explanation with “price are high” or “it takes two to tango.”

It takes a good manager to close a deal his team desperately needs. This Trouba situation is shaping up to provide the B’s with that opportunity.