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Recchi thrilled to be a Bruin

by John McGourty
One might think Mark Recchi would be sick of being traded. But that wasn’t the case Wednesday when he got word he was leaving Tampa Bay, and out of the playoffs, and to Boston and right in the thick of things.

"I want to tell everybody how excited I am to be part of the Boston Bruins organization and being a piece of the puzzle that helps us get to the Stanley Cup," Recchi said. "I think they are very close, one of the hardest teams to play against in the league. They have great leadership, great skills and they skate well."

The Bruins got stronger at forward and defense at the trade deadline without giving up key players from their roster. They added Recchi and defenseman Steve Montador while giving up forward Petteri Nokelaninen, minor-league right winger Martins Karsums and minor-league defenseman Matt Lashoff.

Actually, all three players were members of the Bruins' Black Aces, the three extra players each NHL team carries in the event of sudden illnesses or injuries. This will open an opportunity for three players currently with the AHL Providence Bruins, most likely Vladimir Sobotka, Martin St. Pierre and a defenseman.

Recchi, 41, is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and seven-time NHL All-Star Game selection. He was a member of the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup winners and a member of the 2006 Carolina championship team.

"The biggest thing is you have to be able to have the thought process that you are a small piece of the puzzle," Recchi said. "I have no illusions that I'm going to change anything, but I'll help any way the coaching staff wants, where ever they want to play me, left wing, right wing, power play or penalty kill.

"As long as you have that thought process, you will fit in. I think I have an easy-going personality. Aaron Ward and I became good friends in Carolina. I'll be nervous, but I have a job to do and want to do it well. I'll go out and do my best."

Recchi was one of Carolina's key late-season acquisitions in 2006 but he said this trading deadline experience was more difficult.

"I really didn't know where I was going to," Recchi said. "I heard Boston in some rumblings, but they kept it quiet on my end and I didn't know until my phone rang and people started texting me that I was going to Boston. ... I just went through it two years ago and that experience helped me. This was a little different. I didn't know where I was going to wind up. Craig Patrick kept me in the loop then, but Brian Lawton chose not to so I had no idea where I was going. That made it uncertain for me, not knowing where I would fit in. All of a sudden, it's 3 o'clock and I've got to get on a 7 o'clock flight."

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 NHL games over 20 seasons. He also has 47 goals and 70 assists for 117 points in 140 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

He signed last summer with Tampa Bay and had 13 goals and 32 assists in 62 games.

"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.

"I've actually been playing a lot of left wing this year and I have no preference, to be honest," Recchi said. "It really doesn't matter. I played the last three games at left wing with Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos. The defensive responsibilities are easier at left wing, but overall right wing is easier for me. Either way, I'm comfortable."

Karsums, 23, is a rugged, gritty player who is disadvantaged by his 5-foot-10 and 198-pound frame. He was outstanding in two appearances in the World Junior Championships in 2003 and 2004 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, and a berth in the Memorial Cup.

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. Karsums is expected to be a member of the Latvian team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

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. A magazine covering minor-league hockey named Lashoff the top minor-league prospect in 2008, ahead of Bobby Ryan, Rob Schremp, Carey Price and Derick Brassard.

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