After the Bruins epic collapse, Recchi was more than willing to air his frustrations with the lack of heart and work ethic from some players on the team. He didn’t call anyone out by name, but it was clear to anyone following the Bruins last season who was dogging it and who wanted to earn their keep. We’re sure he had choice words behind doors for those moochers. And after re-signing with the Bs, he joked that he thought about hanging up his skates after his first round of off-season workouts.
We wouldn’t have blamed him. He’s got nothing to prove to anyone at this point in his career.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone currently wearing a Boston Bruins uniform or playing in the NHL that works harder or is more driven than Old Man Recchi. The guy’s 42 years old. We were still crapping our diapers when he played his first NHL game. He’s played almost 1600 games in his career and has scored nearly 1500 points. He’s won two Stanley Cup titles. He has a street named after him. He’s done it all and has nothing to prove.
But he’s a man who plays with pride and heart. He cares about winning and about his team. He doesn’t want his career to end in epic failure.
“I think there was some unfinished business. I’ve never been so disappointed to end the way we did.” –Mark Recchi, (Boston.com)
So, he kept close tabs with Chiarelli and watched the moves PC was making during the early part of the off season. Younger and faster. That’s how Recchi described the route Chiarelli is taking the Bruins — a tad ironic since Rex, at 42, is the oldest active player in the league and isn’t a speed demon on skates. He’s no longer the 100 point player he was when he donned a Penguins & Flyers jersey during the early-90s. Yet on any given night you’ll find him out hustling, out working and out playing guys half his age. He’s driven by the hunger to succeed and a strong work ethic, and that’s why we, and Bruins fans nation-wide, love Rex.
And it’s why PC brought him back into the fold. To have him pass along that grit, work ethic and know-how from 20+ years of experience to the Bruins youngsters — specifically, Nathan Horton, Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic and, of course, Tyler Seguin.
Playing the role of mentor won’t be new to Recchi. He was around during both Sidney Crosby’s and Steve Stamkos’ rookie seasons and those two have plenty of hardware between the two of them — especially Crosby. On the Bruins, he’s worked with Lucic and Wheeler, “showing them how to engage in the dirty areas for tips and rebounds,” according to Fluto (Boston.com). Clearly, Lucic took notes from Professor Recchi while Wheeler jerked off during class. And now Rex will get his chance to work his magic with Seguin. The two began bonding before the Bruins even drafted Seguin.
“I ran into Mark Recchi a couple of times and we were definitely elevator buddies. He’s a great guy and I’m sure he’s going to give me a lot of advice. I’m really looking forward to that.” –Tyler Seguin (CSNNE.com)
With the roster and depth the Bruins have up the middle, Seguin will be able to adjust to the hard and fast life of the NHL a little bit easier than his counterpart in Edmonton. And with Recchi as his mentor, he’ll have someone to lean on for when times get tough during his rookie season and for useful advice. The Bruins newest franchise player is in good hands.
“[Tyler] can come in and learn and grow and be a part of a very good hockey team. I think that’s very important for the development of a young kid.” –Rex
Recchi will also get a chance to help mold rough and tough winger Nathan Horton into the player Horton says he wants (and management hopes) him to be.
“[Horton’s] a tough kid. He can score. He can pass. This kid’s got pure talent. We’ve just got to get it out of him on a more consistent basis and surround him with the right people. If he’s willing to learn and be effective, then it’s going to be a great fit. He’s going to be a huge factor for our hockey club. It sounds like he’s willing and able to come in here, get better, learn, and continue to grow.”
“He’s a young gentleman whose potential’s been untapped, really.I think the Boston market, the sports market, is going to be tremendous for him.”
We believe Rex. After 20+ years of professional experience, you can’t argue with the man. We’ve lost count the number of times during the regular season — when Boston was at its worst — we found ourselves smiling and nodding in approval as Recchi busted ass into the corner and upended some 20-something-year-old, despite being down by three goals. He’s got a passion for the game and a desire to be the best and win. He hates to lose and he hates complacency even more. For most of the season he was the only thing on the ice that made us smile in the stands. It’s exactly the type of leadership Boston needs if it wants to bring the Cup back to Causeway St. He might only wear an ‘A’ but he’s much more than that for this team.
In the Bruins era led by President Neely, where work ethic, heart and accountability are the currency of the franchise, no one is better suited than Recchi to mold the youngest Bruins talent into those types of players. Players in his image.
Boston’s youngest members are in good hands.
Go Recchi. Go Bruins.