FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Five years after Mark Recchi scored the game-tying goal for the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, he was back in a Bruins sweater and playing outdoors.
But this time Recchi, now the player development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, was playing against the Montreal Canadiens in the Winter Classic Alumni Game at Gillette Stadium on Thursday.
Recchi skated on a line with former Bruins teammate Marco Sturm and Sergei Samsonov, who preceded Recchi and Sturm in Boston by a couple seasons. Recchi scored twice and assisted on a goal by Sturm in the Bruins’ 5-4 shootout win.
The alumni game brought back memories of the 2010, 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston, when Recchi tied the game in the third period and Sturm won it in overtime.
“To get an opportunity to come back five years from the time we had an opportunity to play at Fenway, and come back and represent the Bruins again -- [Sturm] scoring a huge goal there to win in overtime, and to come back and score another nice goal today -- it’s a fun thing to be part of,” Recchi said. “And, especially, you don’t forget this. We’ll never forget it and our kids will never forget it. There are special moments throughout your career that you really, really enjoy.”
Recchi, 47, did most of his damage in the second half of the game. That shouldn’t be a surprise, because like most alumni games, that’s when the blood gets pumping and players begin to take the contest more seriously.
“Always. Always,” Recchi said. “That’s how it starts. And the pace started picking up about halfway through the second and it got better and better as it went on, no question. Guys played in the NHL for a reason; they were competitive and they wanted to win. And it’s no different when you get out there. It’s loose to start, but then it definitely heats up all the time and you see a little extra effort, a little extra backchecking and stuff like that.”
Recchi scored 577 goals in 1,652 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup twice, with the Penguins in 1991 and with the Bruins in 2011. His last NHL game was Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
Recchi had 42 goals and 65 assists in 180 games for Boston, and his career included 346 games for Montreal, with 120 goals and 202 assists.
As an alumnus of each organization, the game Thursday and the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN) couldn’t feature a better matchup.
“Well, it’s a testament to the history of the two teams and traditions that these two teams have. Being part of both of them at some point is special,” Recchi said. “They’re special organizations. The rivalry’s incredible. Even when at times their teams haven’t been that great, the rivalry’s still good. And it’s just a fun thing to be a part of. And to get an opportunity to play in an alumni game is very special.”