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Recchi ready to help ease Seguin into NHL life

by James Murphy
When Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed he had re-signed veteran forward Mark Recchi to a one-year extension June 25, he immediately alluded to the 42 year-old, two-time Stanley Cup champion's influence on younger players.

"He's looking forward to helping the younger kids," Chiarelli said. "He can manage their expectations, manage their lifestyles and all that. It's a group effort, but someone like Mark who has done it and has done it successfully will be an asset to our team."

Chiarelli then went out and selected Tyler Seguin with the No. 2 pick at the 2010 Entry Draft. Recchi said he's excited about the chance to mentor and help guide the 18 year-old rookie as he enters the NHL. He's had the chance to help young stars like Eric Staal (in Carolina), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay) and Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) deal with the on- and off-the-ice demands of being an NHL player, and he seems to already have a plan on how he will be there for Seguin.

Recchi realizes that while Seguin has the potential to be a superstar and add depth up the middle to a team that already has plenty in Marc Savard, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, he doesn't need to become the man in his first game and first NHL season.

"Well, I think it's wonderful," Recchi said. "Any time you can get a kid like that, he's a franchise player. We're very fortunate. Up the middle, we have three dynamic guys, all different types of players. I understand [Seguin] is going to be an important part, but at the same time he can just come in and be a player, which I think is most important for a young kid. There's no pressure for this kid to come in, internally, anyways. He doesn't have to come in and be a world-beater."

Recchi compared Seguin's situation to that of Taylor Hall, who was selected one pick ahead by the Edmonton Oilers. Hall may be expected to be a savior for a team trying to rebuild and get back to its glory days.

"There's a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall to go [to Edmonton] and be an impact player right away," Recchi said. "Seguin can come in and he can learn and grow and be part of a good hockey team, and I think that's very important for the development of a young kid."

Recchi sees a similar progression for Seguin to that of Stamkos, the No. 1 pick of the 2008 draft who struggled with the rigors and pressures of the NHL in his first season. Recchi, who was on the Lightning through February of that season, said coach Rick Tocchet (a former teammate of Recchi) played a major role in getting Stamkos on the right path. Now, Stamkos is a Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner after scoring 51 goals and amassing 95 points this past season.

"You look at how Tocchet handled that situation with Stamkos and how far he has already come after maybe struggling a bit in the first half of his rookie season," Recchi said. "Toc got him on that great weight program to build his strength and now you can hardly ever battle the puck away from that kid."

Recchi envisions a similar path of development for Seguin in Boston.

"You look at like how I said we need to approach things with Tyler, they did the same thing with Stamkos in Tampa," Recchi said. "They had guys like [Vinny] Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis to help him along. They didn't make it out like he had to be the main guy. Now he has become that star and that's because of how Tocchet changed the organization's approach to Stamkos."

Recchi has already made it known to Seguin that he is there for him whenever needed.

"I'm ready to do whatever I can to help Tyler," Recchi said. "He seems like a great kid and we know he will be an amazing player, but there's no rush. We will be here for him to help along and let him reach his potential at a natural pace."

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