-- Boston Bruins
right wing Mark Recchi
, the leading scorer among active players with 1,476 points, returns to Philadelphia's Wachovia Center Thursday night to face the team he spent 10 of his 21 NHL seasons with, the Flyers.
Recchi's Bruins hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, three points ahead of the ninth-place New York Rangers
. They're two points behind the seventh-place Montreal Canadiens
and four points behind the sixth-place Flyers.
Philadelphia holds many wonderful memories for Recchi. It's where his children were born, and he still holds the Flyers' single-season record of 123 points, set in 1992-93 when he was a member of the Crazy Eights line with Brent Fedyk
and Eric Lindros
"It's a great city, a great sports town and a great organization," Recchi said. "A wonderful organization, one of the top ones in the League, first class. It's always fun to come back and I still have some great friends here. And a couple of my kids were born here so I have a lot of great memories."
Recchi ranks eighth in team history with 627 points. Bobby Clarke
is the Flyers' all-time scoring leader with 1,210 points, and it was Clarke's 1975-76 season mark of 119 points that Recchi broke.
"It's a great city, a great sports town and a great organization. A wonderful organization, one of the top ones in the League, first class. It's always fun to come back and I still have some great friends here. And a couple of my kids were born here so I have a lot of great memories." -- Mark Recchi
"It's pretty neat. I was fortunate enough to move ahead of Bobby Clarke
, when he was the general manager here," Recchi said. "He's a great person, a wonderful person and he treated us great. I'll get passed by, too, one day soon, I'm sure of that. It's nice to have that honor with a great organization and I'm proud to be part of it."
Recchi is a fit, fast and healthy 42 years old, and while he runs with the kids in the Bruins dressing room, he'll be reminded of his age when he looks at the Flyers' coaching staff of Peter Laviolette
, Craig Berube
and Joe Mullen
. Recchi and Mullen carried the scoring load for the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins
Stanley Cup champions when Mario Lemieux
was being treated for cancer and a back problem.
Recchi played with Berube on the Flyers and was coached by Laviolette when he won the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes
Recchi was 23 and in his third season when he won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins, and 38 when he won with Carolina. The 15-year gap between Stanley Cups is the second-longest in NHL history.
"I sat between Joe Mullen
and Bryan Trottier
in the Pittsburgh dressing room and I couldn't have had two better guys," Recchi said. "They had both won the Stanley Cup. Bryan had won a bunch and Joey won in Calgary. Just their demeanors, how they approached the game, they were very professional about it and you couldn't ask for two better guys for a young guy to come in and sit between them. I soaked everything in and learned a lot from them. They were better people than they were hockey players and everybody knows how good they were as hockey players.
"I always make sure to say hi to Joe Mullen
and Craig Berube
. I won a Stanley Cup with Peter Laviolette
. There's some great people on that bench that I'm very good friends with. But there's a job at hand -- we're trying to catch them."
That job was made more difficult for the scoring-starved Bruins when first-line center Marc Savard
suffered a concussion Sunday, and may miss the rest of the season. Recchi admits the challenge is great but he's not afraid. He's still playing because he loves the challenges.
"It's huge. We have destiny in our own hands. We are ahead of the teams below us and we've got some teams we can try to catch," Recchi said. "It's in our hands, which is what you ask for. We don't need help from anybody else. We have a job to do and we can take care of business ourselves and get in."
The Bruins appreciate Recchi's leadership, experience, savvy and competitiveness.
"He's a veteran guy who brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team and he plays a big part in our locker room in getting guys ready to play," said newly acquired defenseman Dennis Seidenberg
, Recchi's teammate when the Flyers went to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals.
"We need him to add as much offense as he can because that's something that we've struggled with this year," said goalie Tim Thomas
, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. "Anything he can do to help us out, we'll be grateful."
Like scoring with two minutes to go to give you a chance to win the Winter Classic?
"Exactly like that," Thomas said.
Recchi's goal with 2:12 remaining in the third period tied the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and at 1:57 of overtime, Marco Sturm
's goal gave the Bruins a 2-1 victory. This is the teams' first meeting since they left the ice rink at Fenway Park.