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: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

BRIGHTON -- The third season is usually a pivotal one when it comes to an NHL player's development and trying to forecast exactly how high their ceiling will be.

So it is for David Pastrnak, who is expected to take a major leap forward in his third year after showing flashes of great promise in each of his first two seasons.

“The [World Cup] is done, so now all of my focus is on being as ready as I can for this upcoming season,” said Pastrnak, 20, who threw probably the biggest hit of his career on unsuspecting teammate Patrice Bergeron when the Czechs played Team Canada in the preliminary rounds. “I feel way bigger, very comfortable on the ice, and I obviously feel really good right now.”

Pastrnak has had moments of dazzling brilliance in Boston so far while riding the usual learning curve that every young player travels in Claude Julien’s system. In addition, injuries last season sidetracked his development process.

Pastrnak put up 21 goals and 55 points between Boston and Providence as the youngest player in either league as an 18-year-old rookie two years ago. Last season he had 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Bruins while also missing significant time because of a fractured foot. The injury not only sidelined him for a few months but also made it difficult for him to jump onto the moving train of the NHL regular season once he was ready to return.

Just as the former first-round pick was really catching fire at the end of the year, time ran out on a Bruins team that had a few too many older veterans with empty gas tanks after being ridden hard throughout the season. Pastrnak scored goals in each of the final couple of games, and showed off the game-breaking ability that should be on full display if he's healthy and placed in a position to succeed.

His World Cup stint ended on a high note, as he played his best game of the tourney against Team USA, though he didn’t make a major impact in the elite international competition. He put on five pounds of muscle during the offseason and clearly looking bigger and stronger at 189 pounds after ending last season closer to 180.

Part of that is the natural physical maturation process for somebody Pastrnak’s age as he gain’s “man strength”, and some of it was a dedicated effort. He worked out in Boston with the B’s training staff for much of the summer for the first time in his career.

The expectation is that Pastrnak is going to be running on the right wing with David Krejci on Boston’s second line, and the search in training camp is for a left wing who can bring added playmaking ability and maybe a little size and strength to the mix. In a perfect world Krejci and Pastrnak will develop into the same dynamic, two-way combination of Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Pastrnak and Krejci could be a lethal offensive duo to be sure, but they’ll also have to pay attention to the little details if they want to stay together playing for Julien. Perhaps with that in mind, Julien was looking to temper expectations for Pastrnak

“I don't know if [the World Cup experience] accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level, and made himself better,” said Julien. “We know he's skilled and we know he's fast, and he's also gotten stronger. He's taking steps in the right direction here. We can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional.

“Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him, and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there are still some things he's going to want to get better at. There are still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach him. Let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.”

One would argue Pastrnak put those expectations on himself when he posted the 21 goals and 55 points as an 18-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the Pastrnak development project can, and should, be one of the things considered when we evaluate Julien’s current ability to get the most out of his young prospect-type players.

The bottom line with Pastrnak and the Bruins is this: It’s his contract year and motivation should be sky high. The Czech youngster is one of the few people who can step up and help fill the offensive void left by the free-agent departure of Loui Eriksson. Expectations are much higher for an experienced, talented 20-year-old than they are for a wide-eyed 18-year-old, and Pastrnak needs to make a big stride forward. Now is the time for Pastrnak to show all he’s learned, and completely unleash the array of offensive skills that caught everybody’s eye in the first place.

The Bruins need Pastrnak, and young players, to step up and start taking ownership of the hockey team.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.