Left wing Milan Lucic
isn't the only member of the Boston Bruins to make a homecoming this week. In Vancouver, when the B's take on the Canucks on Saturday, the BC-born forward's family will no doubt be joined in Rogers Arena by the Recchi clan from Kamloops, British Columbia.
|From left, Boston Bruin's Johnny Boychuk (55), Recchi (28), Patrice Bergeron (37) and Brad Marchand (63) come together to celebrate Recchi's goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez) |
"It’s always great," said Mark Recchi of playing near home. "I don’t get to do it very often.
"I think it’s only the second time in seven or eight years, so it’s exciting...[and] to be here for three or four days as well, it gives you that much more of a chance to visit my brothers and relatives and cousins and friends," he said.
Recchi, 43, has been playing hockey a long time and his association with the game doesn't seem to have an end in sight.
"I love the game," said Recchi, the NHL's active leader in games (1,631), assists (953) and points (1,527). "It’s obviously been a big part of my life and always will be.
"It’s given me everything that I’ve gotten and I’m very blessed and thankful that hockey has been part of my life."
Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli thinks that Recchi, who has a 11-31-42 line in 60 games this season, will continue to work in hockey even after the forward has hung up his skates.
In fact, Chiarelli only had to point to Recchi's part ownership of junior hockey's Kamloops Blazers to illustrate his point.
"I’ve sat with him a few times and he’s picked my brain on players and I’ve picked his brain on players," said Chiarelli.
"He’s got a really good hockey mind and he gives us periodical reports on the team building for his junior team.
|Recchi, left, pokes the puck past Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, who was out of the crease, for a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
"When he’s done I’m sure he’s going to be in the business."
But for now, Recchi is an important member of the on-ice Boston Bruins.
"Yeah, he’s defied all odds and he’s been tremendous for us ever since we got him," said Chiarelli. "He scores the timely goals, he goes to those areas all the time, he manages to get his stick on every puck it seems.
"And he’s having another good year.
"He’s a very important part of this team," he said.
But it's not just the Hall of Fame caliber skill set that sets Recchi apart. It's his dedication to the game, the Bruins team and his teammates in Boston that puts Mark in a special category of hockey player.
"I think it’s his enthusiasm for the game," explained B's Head Coach Claude Julien. "He’s having a blast with these guys and he’s been, as I said before, a breath of fresh air for this dressing room.
"His experience, his knowledge and his wisdom and what he shares with our younger players has been something extremely valuable to us."
But even beyond his work ethic, it's the example that Recchi sets off the ice, which might be the most overlooked portion of the veteran winger's contributions to the Boston Bruins.
"He’s keeps himself in great shape, as you probably saw today. And he works hard in every practice," said Julien. "He doesn’t take short cuts and I think he’s setting a real good example for everybody.
"He’s been a real good addition for our hockey team since we got him from Tampa and it’s really helped...our young players and also our dressing room."
"You have to be proud to walk in that room and be proud to be a Boston Bruin." - Mark Recchi
Recchi doesn't seek any special recognition for any of his works. He just appreciates the opportunity to put on a Black & Gold sweater.
Helping the younger players on the B's -- that's just gravy for Recchi.
"I like to do it," said Recchi. "I want to feel part of it.
"When I got traded when I was younger I had some great older guys that I trusted and really made me feel good when I came up and made me feel part of it. You never forget that.
"You learn from it and you want to pass that on.
"I like working with Tyler [Seguin] and guys like that and even new guys coming in," added Recchi when asked about his text messages to Tomas Kaberle after the B's acquired the puck-mover from Toronto.
"Just to say 'Hey,' it makes them feel good [that] they’re part of something. We’re trying to build something special here and if you can make them feel good, anything helps."
"Especially with the Boston Bruins organization -- part of the 'Original Six.'
"You have to be proud to walk in that room and be proud to be a Boston Bruin," he said.