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Bruins add veteran punch, '09 second-rounder

by John McGourty
The Boston Bruins acquired veteran right wing Mark Recchi and his considerable playmaking skills from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a pair of minor leaguers who were high draft picks in recent seasons.

The Bruins sent defenseman Matt Lashoff, their first-round pick in 2005, and right wing Martins Karsums, their second-round pick in 2004, to the Lightning for Recchi and a second-round pick in 2009.

"I'm very excited and really didn't know what would happen today," Recchi told TSN. "The Bruins are a great team and have several great, young players and the season they have had has been very good."

Recchi, 41, is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and seven-time NHL All-Star. He won Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. It's the second-longest gap between Stanley Cup seasons, 15, in NHL history.

This is the fifth time the Kamloops, B.C., native has been traded at the deadline, and this deal makes Recchi the second-oldest NHL player traded at the deadline. Goalie Jacques Plante was 44 when he was traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Bruins in 1973.

"I just love the game and I'm very passionate about it," Recchi said. "Whether this turns out to be my last year or not, I just want to do the right things and have another shot. There's always that consideration to play another year and, hopefully, the playoffs will last long, but, if not, (retirement) will be something to think about."

Recchi was a better than a point-a-game player through age 40 and has 535 goals and 891 assists for 1,426 points in 1,472 games over 20 seasons. He also has 47 goals and 70 assists for 117 points in 140 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Recchi's 123 points, on 53 goals and 70 assists, during the 1992-93 season is the Flyers' regular-season scoring record. Recchi, who has worn No. 8 throughout his career, was part of the Flyers' "Crazy Eights" line that season, with Eric Lindros (No. 88), and Brent Fedyk (No. 18).

"'The Recchin' Ball' was in his third season when he helped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup during a season in which he had 40 goals and 73 assists. He had 10 goals and 24 assists in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins traded him to the Flyers in the offseason and he played two-plus seasons there before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Eric Desjardins and forward John LeClair.

Montreal traded Recchi back to Philadelphia in 1999 for Dainius Zubrus and a pair of draft picks. Recchi finished third in the League in scoring in 2000, five points behind Jaromir Jagr, when he had 28 goals and 63 assists for 91 points. He has finished in the top 10 in NHL scoring in three other seasons.

Recchi signed with Pittsburgh in 2006 and was traded at the deadline to the Hurricanes, for whom he had 4 goals and 3 assists in 20 games. He really came alive in the playoffs, posting 7 goals and 9 assists in 25 games. He had the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against Edmonton.

Recchi signed again with Pittsburgh that offseason and had 24 goals and 68 points in 82 games, but was waived the next season and picked up by the Atlanta Thrashers. He signed last summer with Tampa Bay and had 13 goals and 32 assists in 62 games.

"I'd like to thank the (Tampa Bay) ownership because they've been very good and it's been a tough year," Recchi said, adding co-owner Len Barrie informed him about the deal. "I hope they get things turned around and get it going in the right direction."

Recchi ranks third among active NHL players in games played, second in assists and points, and sixth in goals.

The Bruins list Phil Kessel, Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew as right wings on their skill lines and Byron Bitz on the checking line. Kessel has shown good chemistry with center Marc Savard on the first line, but first-line left wing Milan Lucic has had frequent physical problems this season. Recchi is a left-handed shot who traditionally has played the off-wing.

"I have no idea where I'll fit in; when I arrive in Boston, the coaching staff will tell me," Recchi said. "To be honest, I don't care where they put me. I just want to try to fit in and do the best I can to contribute."

Karsums, 23, is a rugged, gritty player who is disadvantaged by his 5-foot-10, 198-pound frame. He was outstanding in two appearances in the World Junior Championships in 2003 and '04 and was named to the QMJHL All-Star Team in 2004. Karsums helped lead Moncton to the QMJHL title in 2006, when he was the MVP of the playoffs.

But Karsums has had trouble cracking the Bruins' lineup. He has played three seasons with the AHL Providence Bruins, where he was fourth-leading scorer at the time of the trade, and played six games with Boston earlier this season, with one assist.

Lashoff, 22, is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-shooting defenseman who has split the last three seasons between Providence and Boston. He has been an All-Star at the AHL level, but has struggled with the speed and moves of NHL forwards.

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