Mark Recchi: Reflecting on an NHL Hall of Fame Career

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IAugust 22, 2011

22 years, eight All-Star selections and three Stanley Cups; that is the resume of surefire Hall of Famer, Mark Recchi.

During his 22-year career Recchi played with nine different teams, including Pittsburgh (three times), Philadelphia (twice), Montreal, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa and finally with Boston, where he closed out his career while hoisting the Stanley Cup for the third time in his life.

Two little known facts about Recchi: he has a street named after him in Kamloops and throughout his career he has always had some variation of a No. 8 on his jersey.

During his NHL career Recchi played in 1,652 regular season games and posted 1,533 points, scoring at nearly a point per game pace (0.93). While his postseason numbers are not all that impressive on their own merit, the fact that most players will go their entire careers and play in less playoff games than goals scored by Recchi in the postseason (61) is something to think about.

Recchi started his hockey career with the New Westminster Bruins soon after he joined his hometown team, the Kamloops Blazers, in the WHL. Mark posted an amazing 154 points with 61 goals in his last year in the WHL. The Blazers retired his number after he was drafted into the NHL 67th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

During his NHL career he posted 100 points three times—once with the Pens and twice with the Flyers in the 90’s. During the 1992-93 season he put up a career high 53 goals. Recchi also scored 40 goals twice in his career, 30 goals four times and had multiple 20 goal seasons.

The young man from Kamloops, British Columbia started his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won his first cup with Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and fellow future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr in 1991. Recchi exploded to score 40 goals and finished with 113 points in the regular season. Even more impressive during the Pens’ Cup run, Recchi put up 34 points in 24 games to help the Penguins capture their first-ever Stanley Cup.

Recchi wasn’t done winning. After spending many years with the Flyers, Canadiens and the Penguins once again, Recchi was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he helped that team win their first ever Stanley Cup, as well. While he didn’t put up superstar numbers like he did back in 91, Recchi was cited for his leadership skills—along with other long-time veterans Doug Weight, Cory Stillman and Rod Brind’Amour—for helping bring the Cup to the South.

Still, Recchi wasn’t done winning. After two less than stellar years in the Southeast with Atlanta and Tampa Bay, Recchi was traded to the Boston Bruins, where he played admirably for the next two and a half years. Recchi only missed two games in his two full seasons with Boston.

Recchi showed how much of a man’s man he really was in his last season. When Zdeno Chara knocked power forward Max Pacioretty unconscious earlier this year, Recchi assumed all the blame the media was throwing out there by making an extremely bold move and calling the seriousness of Pacioretty’s into question.

The move was absolutely genius. In doing so Recchi took all the heat off the Bruins’ captain and star player and put it on his own shoulders. Recchi would once again show off his veteran savvy in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals, when he would stick his glove into the mouth of Canucks’ agitator Maxim LaPierre.

While this move certainly was not the first bit of bad blood between the two teams, it marked a serious change in attitude for the Bruins. They had rallied around injured Nathan Horton as somewhat of a folk hero who had almost sacrificed himself for the team, despite the fact that he was just hurt by an illegal hit in Game One.

When Boston won the Cup this past season, he was the second player to hold it, as captain Zdeno Chara handed it off to Father Time himself. Everyone in the Bruins organization knew this was to be Recchi’s last game in the NHL, win or lose. They decided to hold off on giving it to 35-year-old Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas in order to give Recchi his swan song and curtain call, going out with fashion.

What does the future hold for Mr. Recchi? With the wealth of knowledge that he possesses it is hard to image Mark staying away from the game of hockey for very long. Is Recchi more suited for coaching or management? Will he prove his worth as a talent scout and evaluator?  In any case, there will be plenty of teams vying for his services when he decides to return to the game that he has dedicated his life to.