March 30, 2011

Recchi continues to etch his name into the record books

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins winger Mark Recchi thanks the crowd at TD Garden for their ovation on Tuesday night. (Getty)

BOSTON -- For Bruins winger Mark Recchi, the milestones have seemingly come in bunches throughout the 2010-11 season. The 43-year-old veteran reached yet another one in Boston's 3-0 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

With an assist on Johnny Boychuk's second-period tally, Recchi passed Paul Coffey to gain sole possession of 12th place on the all-time points list.

But despite their frequency, feats like this never get boring for the future Hall of Famer.

"No, of course not," said Recchi. "I mean it’s great. It comes in another big win for us and makes it that much more sweet. The guys played a good game tonight and we got things going and we want to continue it. They’re fun.

"Obviously right now it’s, these guys probably get more excited than I do right now, but at the end of my career I’ll look back and be proud of what I did and how long I played. And hopefully my kids can really enjoy it."

Following Boychuk's goal, Patrice Bergeron -- Recchi's pivot for nearly every shift since he arrived from Tampa Bay in 2009 -- quickly came over to congratulate No. 28.

"Oh Bergy was unbelievable," Recchi said. "He's obviously been a big help to me since I’ve been here, he’s kept me young and kept me going. He’s an unbelievable centerman for me, he just couldn’t congratulate me enough, he was so excited.

"He’s a great teammate and a great friend. And 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."

The crowd on hand at the Garden made sure Recchi knew they recognized the significance of the moment, too.

"They’re great here, like I said they’re wonderful sports people and they do get it," said Recchi. "Like I said, it’s just nice to be recognized for that. And you know they appreciate it, you know they do. Hopefully we can continue this process and really give them something to cheer about at the end of the day."

Recchi himself will take some time to marvel at his own accomplishments but, for now, he's going to keep all of his focus on the task at hand.

"Right now I just want to keep plugging along here and trying to help this team win," he said. "When I’m done I’m sure I’ll sit back and really recognize that it’s been fun. And like I said, it’s double-plus what I thought I was going to play.

"I thought I would be lucky to play ten years and I would have been very fortunate to play ten years, and here I am twenty-two years later and I’m still having fun and still enjoying myself."

Recchi hasn't made a decision about his plans for a possible return next season. He's hoping the results of the Bruins playoff run will determine that.

"I’m hoping we go on a long ride, it just makes it real easy for me to say see you later," he said. "We win and I say I’m gone. If we win a championship, I’m gone."

After such a fabulous career, going out on top seems as fitting a finish as any for Recchi, who has proven himself to be not only one of the best players of his generation but truly one of the game's all-time greats.