Boston, MA --
|Boston Bruins right wing Mark Recchi celebrates a goal against Ottawa Senators goalie Brian Elliott during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Adrian Wyld) |
“We’ve got to play ugly hockey.”
That was forward Mark Recchi’s prescription for his injured and inconsistent Boston Bruins team.
Even before returning from their fairly successful West Coast road trip, the B’s have had trouble overcoming the rash of injuries and picking up the energy, according to head coach Claude Julien.
“Our situation isn’t getting better, as you can see, and we’re just going to have to keep plugging away,” he said. “It’s one of those things where if you can at least bring your compete level up, you’re giving yourself a chance.”
With key players like Marc Savard
and Andrew Ference
on the injured reserve, several of the B's have stepped up to fill the void, like the 41 year-old Recchi. The veteran is currently averaging 16:47 minutes of ice time, and is third in points for the Bruins with 27 (trailing only Wheeler, 28, and Bergeron, 31).
Usually a winger, Recchi has recently had success as a centerman, and has suited up for seven NHL teams (more than any other Bruin) and knows that winning on the ice starts in the locker room.
“It’s always right here, it’s never anywhere else,” Recchi said. “Number one, you’ve got to lead by example.
“And number two, if there’s things that need to be said, then the guys in the room will step up and say it, whether it’s me or anybody else.”
Head coach Claude Julien has also noticed Recchi’s increased presence both in the room and on the ice.
“His competitiveness, more than anything else, is what you want to see rub off on other players on your team,” Julien said. “There’s a certain amount of pride when you step on the ice and you put the jersey on and go out there and compete.
“He’s showing that when he goes out there, he doesn’t care how old or how young he is, he’s going in there and he’s competing hard.”
Though they came back from California with just three out of six points, it was encouraging proof that they could compete with the best, even without their best in the lineup. However, the three games out West showed off an entirely different team and energy than the Hub of Hockey saw when the Bruins suited up on Monday in TD Garden when their return to Boston was marred by a difficult and unexpected 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
“It’s just playing simple hockey, and it’s being really hard to play against,” Recchi said in prescription of an antidote. “Taking away team’s time and space is huge, and out-skating and moving your feet.
“Maybe we’re thinking too much at home or trying to be too fancy.”
As the B’s prepare to face the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at the TD Garden, Recchi said he and his teammates will be trying to find the attitude that served them so well last week.
“We’ve got to play hard hockey and be a hard team to play,” he said. “It’s definitely a road mentality and if you get that, and you go out there and do things, then everything will start taking care of itself.”