Like the ‘Energizer Bunny,’ Mark Recchi of the Boston Bruins keeps going and going.
Even at 43 years of age, it looks like nothing can stop Recchi’s value on the ice or enthusiasm for the game of hockey.
There were times when he was written off by columnists who labeled him as ‘over the hill’ and ‘past it.’
When Recchi was placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 4th, 2007, those voices grew louder as many began to question how much he had left in the tank. Recchi responded by accumulating 40 points in 53 games for the Atlanta Thrashers to end his 2007-08 season.
Now, those who once speculated about his career’s demise are marveling at his longevity.
Recchi obviously is no longer the 40-goal scorer or 60-assist man of his youth but many aspects of his game haven’t changed. He still plays with the same vigor as he displayed as a 1988 NHL rookie and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves despite some combatants being young enough to be his son.
While in his prime, Recchi could easily be described as a heady, intelligent hockey player. With everything he’s learned in 23 NHL seasons, Recchi is now the wise ‘Jedi master’ who guides the ‘Padawan’ youngsters both inside the Bruins’ locker room and out on the ice.
Recchi himself can still show flashes of brilliance as he did in Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. At 5:33 of the first period he received a pass from Andrew Ference at the high-slot and perfectly placed wrist-shot past Carey Price. Coaches say that anticipation is something that cannot be taught as Recchi evaded the Canadiens’ defenders by shifting into an ideal open space.
It’s nothing new for the two-time Stanley Cup winner who continues all the correct habits on ice and throughout everything he’s been through, his self-belief hasn’t waned.
“I trust what I do out there,” Recchi said after the Game 7 victory. “And I trust my line-mates. I believe in what we’re doing.
“I’m comfortable out there. I’ve been through a lot of it.”
Recchi knows his role has changed but can still be counted on when inspiration is needed. Even though his minutes per game have diminished with age, he is the sort of player coaches want out on the ice in important spots. During the 2010-11 regular season he put up 17 power-play points and his six game-winning goals tied him for 17th-best in the NHL.
“It’s just nice to help the team,” Recchi noted. “That’s what we try and do every night, be consistent and be someone the coach can count on.”
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