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THN.com Playoff Blog: Respect 'The Recching Ball'

With a pair of goals, 42-year-old Mark Recchi is tied for the team lead. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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With a pair of goals, 42-year-old Mark Recchi is tied for the team lead. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s been a lot to pull you off the couch and into an oh-my-god-did-you-just-see-that standing position these playoffs, but one of my favorites so far has been the playoff of relative geriatric Mark Recchi.

At the ripe young age of 42, Recchi still gives his all every shift and can still dole it out as good as he takes it. No time was that more prevalent than his Game 3 tête-à-tête with the Sabres’ Tim Kennedy (by no means a Goliath at 5-foot-9, but still, at 23, he’s almost half Recchi’s age) that led to Patrice Bergeron’s game-winner. That play distinctly and abruptly turned this series on its head, giving the B’s all the momentum.

If Boston eventually closes out this series, it’ll be that play that stands out as the defining moment in a clash that’s exceeded even the most offensively optimistic observer’s expectations. Most, including myself, expected the Sabres-Bruins showdown to be a bit of a dud, but instead it’s revealed itself to be the most exciting series beyond Phoenix-Detroit.

A hardly earth-shattering, but an interesting tidbit of info that illustrates how rare it is for a 40-plus player to contribute the way Recchi has: when he scored Boston's lone goal in a 2-1 Game 1 loss, he became the third-oldest player in Stanley Cup playoffs history to find the back of the net (behind only a 52-year-old Gordie Howe and a 45-year-old Chris Chelios.

A consistent and sturdy contributor with 18 goals and 43 points, while playing 81 regular season games for the injury-plagued Bruins, Recchi has continued to chip in offensively in the post-season with a pair of goals and a trio of points in the five games.

And it was exactly this projection that crafty and underrated GM Peter Chiarelli made when he inked Recchi to a steal of a one-year $1-million base contract (with $700,000 in potential bonuses) during the summer.

(Have a read of my blog post from earlier this season to see why the former Ottawa assistant GM has the B’s set up for the future better than any club.)

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His gritty, give-it-all style leads by example and is exactly the package of traits that at least a handful of a roster must possess if a team is going to make a deep playoff run. As Recchi’s five February or later trades would attest, he is a valuable commodity.

And if he chooses to have one last kick at the can next season, contending teams would be well advised to ignore the number on his birth certificate in lieu of his two Stanley Cups. 

DIPLOMATIC HARMONY
Kudos to the Buffalo Sabres for having their anthem singer – the talented Doug Allen – belt out the Canadian national anthem prior to the game, despite the fact there are no North-of-the-49th teams involved in the series. It's a respectful gesture to those who make the cross-border trek and exchange the Red and White for Blue and Gold.

THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

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Edward Fraser is the managing editor of  The Hockey News. His blog appears weekly.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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