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Recchi: One last chance to win Stanley Cup

by John McGourty
This is a warning to the Mark Recchi fan club: The contract he signed Thursday with the Boston Bruins will be his last.

After 20 NHL seasons, Recchi, 41, said the Bruins offer him his best, last chance to win a third Stanley Cup. After this season, he has to turn his attention to his family.

"I think this is probably going to be it," Recchi said. "I'm going to go out and I want to finish it right. I want to win and help the team be successful. Then, I've got family situations I have to consider, kids I have to consider."

Recchi won the Stanley Cup with the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. He was traded to the Bruins on March 4, the trading deadline,
from the Tampa Bay Lightning, where was the team's third-leading scorer. The Bruins won the Eastern Conference championship, but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I really like the pieces that are there," Recchi said. "Winning the Stanley Cup is not an easy thing but you want to give yourself every opportunity. I really thought Boston was a good fit for me. ... Everybody left pretty disappointed, which I really, really like. The guys felt there was something left out there and I think the guys are going to be that much more hungry this year.

"It's been a great run," Recchi said. "I want to give it one more chance and then I can sail off into the sunset."

Recchi has also played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Atlanta Thrashers. He played three different times with the Penguins and two separate stints with the Flyers. Recchi's teams have made the playoffs in 13 of his 20 seasons.

Recchi has 545 goals and 897 assists in 1,490 NHL games. He has scored 20 or more goals in 16 seasons. In addition to his scoring ability, Recchi is an even better passer and one of the best re-directers of shots in the game today.

Recchi has had great success in Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 50 goals and adding 73 assists in 151 games. He was Pittsburgh's second-leading scorer in the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs, notching 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points, exceeded only by Mario Lemieux's 44 points.

Recchi helped the Bruins considerably in their run to first place in the Eastern Conference by scoring 10 goals and adding six assists in 18 games. He had 3 goals and 3 assists for six points in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The Bruins were trailing, three games to one, against the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, but rallied to win Games 5 and 6 after Recchi got
the first goal in both those games. He also sent Game 3 into overtime with a late goal. He did all that despite battling kidney stones in the playoffs. He said that problem has cleared up.

"I think so," he said. "I feel great. I'll be ready to roll by September."

Recchi said before he could re-sign with Boston he had to decide whether he wanted to play another season and Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli needed to determine his course of action in rebuilding for the 2009-10 season. Yet, Recchi was surprised he received his offer so quickly.

"I thought I might bag it, but I decided I was going to play," Recchi said. "Peter and I talked and I told him that Boston was the first place I wanted to play, out of respect. They stepped up and they got me at the deadline last year. I really enjoyed it. I said I'd come back and they said they needed me. Peter and I had ongoing communications throughout the last week. I kind of knew where they were sitting. Then, free agency started and it kind of happened quicker than I thought it was going to.

"It's tough to keep a team together, with the salary cap," Recchi continued. "You build a good team and then it gets broken up. You have to restock again. It's got to be a really frustrating thing from the GM's side. He's done a tremendous job. The biggest thing is he's got his goaltender and his core of his defense settled in and the core of his centermen settled in, which is how you build your franchise. If you have those guys, then you're filling pieces in around them. I think he's done a great job of that."

Recchi was successful in switching to left wing after a career on the right side, although he had played left wing at times before. He worked well on a line with center Patrice Bergeron and right winger Chuck Kobasew. He's hoping he can re-unite with them again but knows it's Coach Claude Julien's decision.

"I see my role as exactly what I was playing last year," Recchi said. "Me, Bergie and Chuckie had some great success together, whether we had to check or do some other things. I would probably take the same position on the power play, get in front of the net and create some traffic there and do some things.  ...
That's all determined at training camp by what the coach thinks. You have to earn your ice time, you can't just have it handed to you. For 20 years, I've looked at it that way."

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