Boston Bruins: Birthday Memories of Mark Recchi

By Emma Harger
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Recchi played in the NHL for a total of 23 years–with the exception of the 2004-05 lockout, when he didn’t play anywhere, but that’s neither here nor there–and suited up for seven different teams in that span. He won three separate Stanley Cups in 1991, 2006 and, of course, 2011. Fans of all seven teams he played for probably have their own stories and memories of the “Recching Ball,” but on the occasion of his 45th birthday, this will focus just on his tenure with the Boston Bruins.

Well, according to Recchi himself, he’s just turning 39 again.

Recchi became part of the Bruins organization at the 2009 trade deadline because the team he was with at the time, the Tampa Bay Lightning, was out of playoff contention anyway. Just three days after he was traded, he scored his first goal in Black and Gold. Actually, he scored two goals as part of a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, including the first of the night.

After sweeping the Montreal Canadiens–another of Recchi’s former teams–out of the quarterfinals that year, the Bruins fell 4-3 in the semifinals to the Carolina Hurricanes, where Recchi won his second Stanley Cup right after the lockout. When he re-signed in July 2009, it was for a one-year deal and he figured 2009-10 might be his final season in the NHL. That summer, he also inherited the title of leader in points and assists among active players upon the retirement of Joe Sakic.

In the 2009-10 campaign, Recchi often served as an alternate captain when Marc Savard was out of the lineup with injury. The 2010 playoffs saw him become the third oldest player ever to score a playoff goal, next to Chris Chelios and Gordie Howe. He also had a multi-goal playoff game in the second round, making him the sole oldest player to do just that. Of course, the playoffs ended rather badly for Boston that season at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers–yep, another of Recchi’s former teams.

After a defeat like that, Recchi decided it wasn’t time for him to say goodbye just yet and re-upped for 2010-11. That was a good idea in  many ways: first of all, it enabled him to put up his 1,500th career point in November 2010. He also traveled with the team to the Czech Republic for the Premiere games and did one better than his achievements in the preceding playoffs.

Then 43-year-old became the oldest player ever to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Final and actually led the entire team in scoring during that Final series. When he won his third Stanley Cup, he joined a small group of players like Al Arbour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Claude Lemieux who won more than three Cups with three different teams.

So, after the Game 7 win, he announced–for real this time–that he was done. He was the last player active in pro hockey who had also been playing back in the 1980s.

Speaking of Nieuwendyk, his post-retirement job is as general manager of the Dallas Stars, where Recchi just signed on as a front office consultant. Recchi also co-owns the junior-level Kamloops Blazers, located in his hometown.

Recchi fights with Chris Campoli in a matchup so unexpected that Jack Edwards can barely believe it is actually happening–or that Recchi gets the takedown.

Recchi’s 1,500th career point.

This little incident during Game 3 of the Final shows Recchi taunting Maxim Lapierre by shoving his fingers in his face, a reference to how Lapierre allegedly bit Patrice Bergeron‘s fingers two games previously. The way Recchi and Bergeron are likened to father and son is mentioned here.

He raises the Stanley Cup for the third time and then calls Bergeron over for the handoff. Note: this video does contain some foul language–and a lot of Gary Bettman.

Recchi makes his retirement official.

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