Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from the Penguins' Thursday afternoon practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex…
1. Worthy of Induction
On Monday, the Hockey Hall of Fame will host its induction ceremony for the Class of 2017. One of the honorees is current Penguins assistant coach Mark Recchi, who crafted out 22 seasons in the NHL as a player, collecting 1,533 points - 12th all-time.
"I'm really excited," Recchi said following practice. "It's a great weekend. I'll spend a lot of time with my family and friends, and just enjoy it. … It's still pretty surreal. I'm sure it will sink in Monday. I can't wait. It's something I never could imagine when I started playing. This is the icing on the cake."
Recchi broke into the NHL with Pittsburgh after being drafted by the Penguins in the 4th round of the 1988 draft. Recchi had three stints with the Penguins and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1991.
"You get to play with players like Mario (Lemeiux), (Bryan) Trottier, (Joey) Mullen, Paul Coffey, a number of guys in the Hall of Fame now. It's an honor," Recchi said. "I feel fortunate to play with guys like that."
Recchi also won the Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, and with the Boston Bruins in 2011, becoming the oldest player in NHL history to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final game at 43 years, 216 days old.
Recchi amassed 577 goals and 956 assists while playing 1,652 games over his time with the Penguins, Philadelphia, Montreal, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Boston.
A native of Kamloops, B.C., Recchi joined the Penguins organization as a development coach in 2014 and held that position for three years, before becoming an assistant coach on Mike Sullivan's staff for the 2017 season.
"As an assistant coach it's easier because I'm the good guy, I don't have to be the bad guy," Recchi laughed. "It's helping them through things. If they need to talk, I've been through a lot of stuff. They can lean on my any time they want."
2. Crosby Reflects on Recchi
Sidney Crosby has crafted an incredible career himself, and on Friday against Washington will be suiting up for his 800th career NHL game. Today after practice, the Penguins captain was complimentary of the accolades of another career, former teammate and current Penguins assistant coach, Mark Recchi.
"I remember being in on his 500th goal," Crosby said. "That was pretty cool, in Dallas. He was a guy that had so much experience, what he was able to do over the course of his career was pretty incredible. Playing with him you could see, he had a great shot, really good hockey sense, he could do it all. I'm happy for him, and it's cool to be able to say that I played with him."
Crosby's former teammate is now his coach.
"His coaching style is geared toward forwards," Crosby said. "Individual stuff in regards to what he sees over the course of the game. He probably looks at it just like he played it, little things and little details he focused on. It's nice to have that insight, as a player there's so many details, so to have insight like that I think goes a long way for all of us."
3. Practice details
The Penguins used the following workflow…