Recchi sees Bruins building momentum
As part owner of the Kamloops Blazers, the Western Hockey League junior team he oversees along with Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, and Darryl Sydor, Mark Recchi has a leaning toward management that makes him more aware of team building than most NHLers.
So based on the Bruins’ trade for Nathan Horton, the selection of Tyler Seguin, and his own re-signing, Recchi sees a club, still being tweaked by general manager Peter Chiarelli, becoming better equipped to march deeper into the playoffs than the second round.
“I had some great conversations with Peter and I really like the direction he wanted to go,’’ the 42-year-old Recchi said during a conference call yesterday, when the Bruins made official his one-year renewal ($1.7 million approximate cap hit).
“He had a great feel for what was needed. When you hear that — now, everything may not work out the way he wants — but from what the dressing room needed, the players we needed, he has a great understanding of it, and that was exciting to me.
“I think there was some unfinished business. I’ve never been so disappointed to end the way we did. But with what he’s planning on doing and what he’s done, getting the second pick, we’re continuing to get this team better. I think we’re going to be a little bit younger and a little bit faster. I think we’re going to be a better hockey team.’’
Unlike last summer, when Recchi had to wait for the Bruins to finalize their budget and structure their cap dollars before offering him an extension (he signed July 2), player and organization were clear, this time around, that a reunion would take place swiftly. Recchi, after all, dressed for every game in 2009-10 save for the regular-season finale, when the Bruins already had clinched a playoff spot. The right wing had 18 goals and 25 assists during the regular season. In the playoffs, Recchi netted a team-high six goals and added four assists.
But Recchi was just as important as a leader on the ice and in the locker room. He was a mentor for Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler, showing them how to engage in the dirty areas for tips and rebounds. Off the ice, Recchi wasn’t shy about calling out his teammates when their effort was less than expected.
To that end, Recchi will be an important presence for Horton, the 25-year-old right wing acquired from Florida in last week’s trade for Dennis Wideman. Horton, long considered an underachiever, will have to answer to Recchi if his work ethic dips in Boston.
“He’s a young gentleman whose potential’s been untapped, really,’’ Recchi said. “I think part of it is that I don’t think he’s been in the greatest place for his development. I think they’ve always been kind of floundering around. I think the Boston market, the sports market, is going to be tremendous for him.
“No. 1, I think he really wants to be a good player. I think he’s really excited to get this opportunity to come here. He’s a tough kid. He can score. He can pass. This kid’s got pure talent. We’ve just got to get it out of him on a more consistent basis and surround him with the right people. If he’s willing to learn and be effective, then it’s going to be a great fit. He’s going to be a huge factor for our hockey club. It sounds like he’s willing and able to come in here, get better, learn, and continue to grow.’’
Recchi will also be a mentor for Seguin, the second overall pick from Friday night’s draft. Recchi was already in his third season as an NHLer when Seguin was born.
“It’s wonderful,’’ Recchi said of landing Seguin. “Any time you get a kid like that, they’re franchise players. We’re very fortunate. Up the middle, we’ve got three dynamic guys. They’re all different types of players. You throw this kid in the mix — he can possibly play the wing, I understand — and he’s going be an important part.
“He can come in and just be a player. That’s most important for a young kid. There’s no pressure to come in for this kid internally. He doesn’t have to come in and be a world-beater. There’s a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall to go [to Edmonton] and be an impact player right away. Seguin can come in, learn, grow, and be part of a good hockey team. That’s important for the development of a young kid.’’
Were it up to Recchi, he’d like Chiarelli to add a bottom-six forward and a defenseman, via trade or free agency. He has read and heard the chatter that Marc Savard is on the market.
“I really like Savvy,’’ Recchi said. “You never know what’s going to happen. General managers explore everything. If there’s a viable option to Marc Savard, you’ve obviously got to look at it. [Chiarelli] might be looking for a different dynamic. We’ve got [David Krejci], [Patrice] Bergeron, and Seguin as centermen. We’ve got some younger centermen coming up. He might be looking at the big picture right now.
“If there’s something viable, maybe he gets a defenseman he’s been trying to get. You maybe get stronger in one area, and maybe not as strong in another area. You can add depth that way if you choose to move Marc Savard. He’s a dynamic passer. He’s been great for the Boston Bruins. I’m sure they’re not taking this lightly. I’m sure if it makes sense, they’ll do it. If it doesn’t, he’ll be here and be a good player for us.’’
The Bruins qualified all of their restricted free agents except Daniel Paille and Kevin Regan by yesterday’s deadline. They both will become unrestricted free agents Thursday. The Bruins are negotiating with Paille, acquired Oct. 20 from Buffalo for a 2010 third-round pick. He earned $1.35 million in 2009-10. Had the Bruins qualified Paille, the left wing would have been guaranteed at least $1.35 million in 2010-11. Paille projects to be the fourth-line left wing and penalty killer next season, albeit at a lower price if the Bruins get their wish. Regan, the South Boston native and former University of New Hampshire star, will not be brought back. Adam Courchaine and Matt Dalton are the projected Providence goalies, with Michael Hutchinson eligible for an overage year in the OHL next season. The Bruins are also considering re-signing veteran Dany Sabourin . . . Phoenix placed ex-Bruin Petteri Nokelainen on waivers. The Bruins traded Nokelainen to Anaheim for Steve Montador at the 2009 trade deadline . . . Seguin and Horton will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park tonight.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.