Classless in Victory: A Response to Mark Recchi's Comments About the Canucks

Adam Graham@@adam_grahamAnalyst IINovember 19, 2011

During his 22-year NHL career, Mark Recchi was generally respected by the hockey fans and the hockey community. In fact, he appeared to be one of the classiest athletes around. However, this year a lot of that has changed.

Most Montreal Canadiens fans will recall Recchi’s insensitive comments about Max Pacioretty embellishing his injury just days after his former teammate Zdeno Chara ran Pacioretty into the partition at the Bell Centre.

Now he’s taken a classless cheap shot through the media at the Vancouver Canucks, five months after his former Boston Bruins team defeated them in the Stanley Cup Finals.

For those who still don’t know what I’m referring to, Recchi was a guest with Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Boston’s sports radio station, on Thursday. He said the following about the Canucks:

"[In] 22 years, they are the most arrogant team I played against and the most hated team I've ever played against. I couldn't believe their antics, their falling and diving.” You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here. (Note: the quote comes near the 9:40 mark of the audio clip)

Is he serious? Recchi played in the NHL for 22 years and of all the different rosters he competed against, he’s calling the Canucks the most arrogant and the most hated? He must have a short memory. It’s either that or he’s still upset over the Alex Burrows bite-gate controversy. If that’s the case, then Recchi needs to learn that one incident doesn’t define a team.

Call me a homer if you want, but I have a hard time believing that a team that’s captained by one of the most humble stars in the game (Henrik Sedin) is the most arrogant team in the last 22 years of the NHL.

I realize I wasn’t on the ice to hear what was said between the two teams during the finals, and I also know the Canucks have a few players who aren’t exactly Lady Byng candidates, but doesn’t every team have a couple of those players? If not every team, I know the Bruins certainly do.

Recchi must be looking at his own former team with rose-coloured glasses to think they’re not one of the more disliked teams in the league as well.

Has he watched Brad Marchand play from an objective point of view? Did he also forget about his own antics towards Maxim Lapierre in Game 3 of the finals? Did it ever occur to him that maybe the reason the Canucks got involved in all those extra-curricular activities in the finals, after avoiding it for most of the playoffs and the regular season, had something to do with the Bruins style of play?

Recchi’s obvious subjective point of view is somewhat understandable, espescially considering the Bruins and Canucks developed a huge hatred for each other by the end of that Stanley Cup Finals series back in June.

However, it’s now been five months since the series ended. Given those circumstances, you’d think a veteran like Recchi would be a little more level-headed when choosing his words in an interview.

This brings me to the real reason why Mark Recchi’s comments were so classless. Of all the moments for him to bring up his feelings about the Canucks, Recchi waited until five months after his retirement to take a cheap shot at the team he defeated to win the Stanley Cup.

I guess Mark didn’t have the guts to say that to any of the Canucks in the handshake line immediately after the series ended. He’d rather wait until everyone else has moved on and then fire a gutless comment at them through the media. How convenient that he won’t be on the ice to defend his comments when the Canucks visit Boston to take on the Bruins on January 7th.

Apparently Mr. Recchi hasn’t heard of the saying that one should be classy in victory and classy in defeat. The Canucks could have voiced their true feelings about the Bruins after the series ended, but they didn’t and were gracious in their defeat. You certainly can’t say the same thing about Recchi after his comments on Thursday.

Whining about a team that you’ve already defeated to win the Stanley Cup is not only classless, but there’s another word I’m trying to think of here to describe Recchi. Let’s see. Oh, I’ve got it.

It’s arrogant!

It’s the same arrogance the Canucks apparently displayed in the finals, according to Recchi. How ironic.

If he wanted to show that his Bruins team was truly a level above the Canucks both on and off the ice, Mark Recchi would have kept his thoughts to himself. At the very least, he could have expressed his feelings about how nasty the finals were without coming across as a sore winner. Unfortunately, Recchi also hasn’t heard of the quote by famous 19th century writer Josh Billings that states, “One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness.”

Thanks to his comments, Recchi has likely now become a hated man in a good portion of the province he grew up in. Now I’m not naive enough to think that hockey fans in Kamloops won’t love him regardless of what he says about the Canucks. After all, he has a street named after him there and is one of the owners of the Kamloops Blazers.

He certainly won’t be shown the same respect in Vancouver, though. If Milan Lucic, who was born in Vancouver and helped the Vancouver Giants win the Memorial Cup, had to alter his Stanley Cup celebrations to avoid some bitter fans, imagine the response that Recchi would get from those same fans. Ouch!

Of course, I’m not condoning this type of behaviour, but I will say that it’s probably a good thing for Mark Recchi that he now makes his home in Pittsburgh.


This article is part of the Replace The KB blog competition for The Province Sports. If you like what you've read, please click here and give it a thumbs-up vote. Thank you.

Follow Adam Graham on Twitter