Mark Recchi hoping to get name on Cup 1 more time

The Boston Bruins thought they knew what they were getting when

they traded for Mark Recchi during the 2009 stretch run.

A prolific playmaker. A gifted puck-handler. A veteran leader

whose experience would help calm his younger teammates in the

playoffs. What they didn’t expect from Recchi, who turned 43 last

month: a youthful outlook that has infected the Boston roster with

energy.

”At the age he’s at, the way he’s performing is pretty

incredible,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Recchi moved

into 12th place on the NHL’s career scoring list. ”He brings some

wisdom in the dressing room, but he also brings some enthusiasm.

He’s young at heart, and players sense that.”

The oldest active player in the NHL, Recchi scored his 1,532nd

career point in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on

Tuesday night to surpass Paul Coffey on the all-time list. Everyone

ahead of Recchi – Bruins great Ray Bourque is 11th with 1,579 – is

either in the Hall of Fame or not yet eligible.

”It’s big names that he’s passing there, and it’s crazy how

many points it is,” said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, who

seemed even more excited than Recchi when the milestone was

reached. ”I’m just happy to be on the ice with him and to have a

chance to enjoy something like that. … He’s obviously going to be

a Hall of Famer, and I feel blessed that I have a chance to be with

him and learn from him.”

Originally a fourth-round draft pick by the Penguins way back in

1988, Recchi is a seven-time All-Star whose 576 goals put him 19th

all-time and 956 assists have him 13th. He is fifth – it’ll be

fourth before the season is up – with 1,647 games played, and the

leader among active players.

”It’s double-plus what I thought I was going to play,” Recchi

said Tuesday night, still wearing the 1970s-era windbreaker given

to the Bruins’ star of the game. ”I thought I would be lucky to

play 10 years, and I would have been very fortunate to play 10

years. And here I am 22 years later, and I’m still having fun and

still enjoying myself.

”I wasn’t even supposed to make it, never mind do this stuff. I

was a 19-year-old draft pick, and small back then,” said Recchi,

who is now listed as 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. ”They drafted

monsters back then, no matter what. I had to work hard to get

there, and I had some people who believed in me as well.”

Recchi won the Stanley Cup in 1991 with Pittsburgh, his third

season, and again with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, his 17th.

In Boston, he has been lining up not only with twentysomethings

like Bergeron or David Krejci, but also 19-year-old Tyler Seguin,

the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

”(Bergeron) has been a big help to me since I’ve been here,

he’s kept me young and kept me going,” Recchi said. ”It’s been

fun, it’s been fun with all these guys, they’ve made it really

enjoyable for me. And hopefully we can continue this thing for

along time.”

And the feeling’s mutual.

”Even though he’s been playing for 22 years, it’s amazing the

way that he gets ready for games and practices,” said Bergeron,

who’s 25. ”He’s always bringing his A-game and his 100 percent

effort, and it’s something that I want to duplicate. And it’s

amazing, the way he prepares and on and off the ice, his

leadership. All that stuff, I’m learning a lot from.”

The Bruins were tied for the best record in the NHL when they

acquired him at the 2009 trading deadline to add a little

experience for the playoffs. Boston lost in the Eastern Conference

semifinals that year, and again last season despite opening a 3-0

lead over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Recchi decided to give it at least one more try last summer,

re-signing with the Bruins for one year and a chance to get his

name on the Cup one more time.

”I’m hoping we go on a long ride, it just makes it real easy

for me to say, ‘See you later,”’ he said Tuesday night. ”If we

win a championship, I’m gone.”

If not?

”Then we’ll see. We’ll see if I can recover,” Recchi said.

”(I’ll) take three weeks, a month, see if my body and my head is

ready to get back in the grind physically doing the stuff I need to

do to get ready for next year.”