WILMINGTON, Mass. -- When Bruins veteran forward Mark Recchi earned his 1,532nd career point with an assist in the Bruins’ 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on March 29, passing Paul Coffey for 12th place on the NHL's all-time list, he told the media after the game that he would retire if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this spring.
"If we win a championship, I'm gone," the 43-year-old wonder said that night.
"I hope so, that's what I came back for," Recchi said when asked if he thought the Bruins could achieve that goal. "I know it's been a long time since this team has seen a hockey championship, and I know the direction Peter [Chiarelli] wanted to go in, and I liked it."
Recchi's younger teammates have taken that belief in them as motivation to give Recchi his third ring and the city of Boston its first Stanley Cup championship since 1972.
“It definitely gives us confidence in the team,” Lucic said of Recchi’s reasoning for coming back. “He’s been around a lot and this is the 22nd group that he’s been a part of. Him saying that he believes in us, it gives us and myself a lot of confidence. It gives you that extra little bit of motivation to win it for a guy like him and make sure he goes off on a good note.”
Rookie Brad Marchand would like nothing better than to reward Recchi’s confidence.
“It’s a special thing,” Marchand said of Recchi’s comments. “He’s one of the best to ever play the game and to know that he sees that we have a team that could possibly have an opportunity to win if everything goes right, we want to make sure we back that up."
On Tuesday, two days before what could very well be his swan song in the playoffs, Recchi was standing by that statement and explained further his decision to come back for a crack at another Stanley Cup.
“Obviously I believed in management and what they were going to try to do,” Recchi said after practice. “They saw some areas where we needed to improve and they went and did it.
"Then it’s just the guys. The guys in here, I saw how disappointed they were last year and how much it hurt them. If it doesn’t hurt you, then you’re not learning from it. I saw the hurt and I think guys learned from it. You just don’t want to feel that way again. It’s not a good feeling and I think guys have shown that over the course of the season. We were more consistent as it went on and we learned to be a better team every night.
"Peter had an identity he wanted the team to form and have, and I think he, and then the team, did it and found it. Now we've got to take it into the playoffs.”