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Water Cooler: Recchi a bargain at twice the price

Thursday, 12.13.2007 / 9:10 AM / Game-Day Skate

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Mark Recchi potted two goals in his Atlanta debut Wednesday night.
Some random thoughts before I demand that my name be removed from the Mitchell Report:

Welcome back, Mark -- The Pittsburgh Penguins’ loss has suddenly become the Atlanta Thrashers’ gain.

Although the Thrashers came out on the short end of the stick in a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins, Recchi potted two goals in his Atlanta debut Wednesday night. The future Hall of Famer now has 512 career goals, with the two goals coming in a span of 1:01 during the second period.

Seriously, has anyone -- other than Regis Philbin, of course -- adjusted to a new team this quickly?

"I feel very comfortable with the hockey club already," Recchi said. "I hope to continue to help and help us get some wins."

If nothing else, Recchi proved he still has some gas left in the tank. It makes you scratch your head and wonder how a couple of teams who have had a ton of problems scoring goals (you know who you are) would pass up the chance to bring Recchi aboard at half of his $1.75 million salary.

I mean, if you were hungry and could get a $7 sandwich for $3.50, you’d buy it, wouldn’t you?

Capital Gain -- The Washington Capitals are back on the right track, and you have to wonder how much longer it will be before GM George McPhee takes away the interim tag from Bruce Boudreau and permanently makes the latter his new coach (that would be a nice Christmas gift, no?).

Boudreau has his players believing in each other, evidenced by the club’s 6-3-1 record since he replaced Glen Hanlon. Granted, Alexander Ovechkin will provide the bulk of the offense, but Boudreau has everybody contributing. My gosh, even Donald Brashear had two assists in Wednesday night’s 5-4 overtime win against the New York Rangers. The Caps were trailing 2-0 early before storming back for the victory.

"Hearing him behind us, 'Keep your heads up,' and 'We need to get two goals' -- that was the bottom line," said Caps defenseman Mike Green, who scored 3:41 into the extra session. "We just had faith we were going to win the game, and good things happen when you have faith."

Time To Make A Move? -- New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan has tried everything.

Dipietro

He’s benched guys, he’s called up players from the American Hockey League, he’s juggled lines. But if the Isles don’t start scoring some goals -- they haven’t tallied more than three in a game since Nov. 1, a span of 19 games -- Rick DiPietro may ask to renegotiate his contract.

"I've given guys plenty of opportunities, but patience can only go so long," Nolan said. "We're in a business. You have to produce and you have to play hard."

Not Two Shabby -- After being owned by the Colorado Avalanche for most of their existence, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made a statement this season.

Wednesday’s 4-1 victory against the Avs at Nationwide Arena marked the second time in a week the Blue Jackets have defeated Colorado. Columbus had a record of 2-21-2 against Avs prior to the last pair of meetings.

What’s more impressive is the way the Blue Jackets shut down Colorado’s top line of Paul Stastny, Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk, a line that racked up 30 points in the last five games.

"They played well. You have to give them a lot of credit," Smyth said. "They weren't giving up a lot. We got behind the 8-ball and when we tried to gain some momentum, they capitalized and put us back on our heels."

Big congratulations to Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, a class act who notched his 450th career victory Wednesday night. Don’t know about you, but I believe Hitchcock deserves some early consideration for the Jack Adams Award.

Carolina Tropical Storms? -- Peter Laviolette is not a happy man right now, and rightfully so.

The Carolina Hurricanes were pummeled on home ice Wednesday night in a 6-0 loss to the suddenly-hot Ottawa Senators, who have won three straight and are regaining their form.

Carolina, however, has won just five times in its last 14 games. The Hurricanes found themselves in a 2-0 hole less than six minutes into their most recent loss and never came close to recovering.

"We got outworked. We got embarrassed in our own building," defenseman Glen Wesley said. "It's unacceptable. The bottom line is that there is nothing to talk about. It's embarrassing. It's disappointing."

Havlat

Happy To “Hav” You -- After missing 22 games with a shoulder injury, Martin Havlat is playing as if he didn’t miss a beat.

Havlat notched two goals Wednesday night, helping the Chicago Blackhawks snap a four-game slide with a 6-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. Havlat has eight points (five goals, three assists) since returning to the ice.

Havlat’s return gives the Blackhawks yet another top gun up front, as he joins two of the top rookies in the game in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. While Chicago has little chance to catch Detroit in the Central Division, the Hawks’ firepower, along with Nikolai Khabibulin between the pipes, gives Chicago a chance to return the postseason for the first time since 2002.

“We’re still not where we want to be,” Toews said. “But we’re on the right track right now.”

No Luongo? No Problem -- Kudos to Curtis Sanford, as the Vancouver Canucks’ backup goaltender made 33 saves to lead his team to a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

The Canucks were badly outplayed in the third period, as they were out-shot by the defending champions by a margin of 16-1. But Sanford stopped 15 of those chances as the Canucks escaped with the two points.

While Sanford basically has shoes the size of Ronald McDonald’s to fill, the 28-year-old has been solid when called upon. Wednesday’s win improved his record to 4-1 with Vancouver.

Not to worry, Roberto. You’re no Wally Pipp.

Brian Compton can be e-mailed at: bcompton@nhl.com.



Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential