Recchi leaves lasting impression
Last call, Mark Recchi. The Bruins shook hands and went their separate ways yesterday, meeting one last time at the Garden after taking a curtain call on Fenway’s emerald lawn. One by one, the Stanley Cup champs met with coach Claude Julien for the customary end-of-season handshake and summer training instructions.
Recchi, who called it a career Wednesday night after winning the Stanley Cup for a third time, was the first to meet with Julien at 3:25 p.m. After 22 seasons and 1,841 games (including Game 7 in Vancouver), the 43-year-old Recchi for the first time since perhaps his preteens didn’t leave the rink with a summer to-do list.
“Yeah, that was it,’’ said Recchi, gently closing the door to Julien’s office after the brief tete a tete. “He said my shot’s got to get a little better.’’
Recchi will be universally missed in the dressing room, especially by his center, Patrice Bergeron. The two formed a close bond in Recchi’s two-plus calendar years with the club, and now someone else will have to share the alternate captain’s ‘A’ that Bergeron and Recchi wore.
“It’s going to be hard,’’ said Bergeron, noting that he tried to cajole Recchi into returning next season in the minutes that followed Wednesday’s win. “I was saying to him, ‘One more, buddy. Come on, one more year.’ But I wish him the best and I know we’ll keep in touch.’’
There is something about Recchi, most of all his youthful enthusiasm, that makes it all but impossible to believe that this is really it. Come October, when the summer sun again has surrendered to the call of winter’s frozen rinks, won’t the surefire Hall of Fame right winger be drawn back to it all?
“It would be nice,’’ mused Bergeron, whose line with Brad Marchand will be auditioning Recchi replacements when training camp opens after Labor Day. “I don’t want to speak for him, but he seems very committed.’’
All bodies were present and accounted for in a breakup day that officially came to an end with rookie Steven Kampfer’s one-on-one with Julien that was scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Joy and celebration remained evident in the Bruins’ faces, though some 96 hours of hootin’ and hollerin’ was evident in their hoarse voices.
“It’s been great,’’ said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, praised by Julien for his work ethic and how he so effectively matched with Zdeno Chara to form a formidable shutdown pairing. “But it’s time to get some sleep.’’
No one looked more in need of sleep than Marchand, the opportunistic Little Ball of Hate. A Red Sox ballcap tugged down to below eyebrow level, he looked as if he hadn’t slept since Wednesday’s pregame nap. And as bad as he looked, he sounded worse.
“I’m going to have to be softer on some guys,’’ said Julien, aware it was not a day to provide much critique, “because they did win . . . and some of them seem to be having a pretty good time.’’
Hall of Fame representatives began booking the Cup’s travel plans immediately following Game 7. Every player, as well as members of the coaching staff and management, will have at least one day with the Cup in the city of their choice.
But specific plans had not been finalized as of late yesterday afternoon. Seidenberg, for one, isn’t sure where he wants to have his day.
“Friends back home want me to bring it back to Germany,’’ said Seidenberg, who grew up near Stuttgart. “But I’m not sure about that because I haven’t been back there in five years. And honestly, I don’t know if I want to go through the travel.’’
Rich Peverley knows he wants to have it to his home in Guelph, Ontario. Bergeron, joined in Saturday’s parade by his father, mother, and girlfriend, will play host to it in Quebec City. Shawn Thornton will have to take it for a tour at the steel mill outside Oshawa, Ontario, where summer employment helped build his NHL body.
Milan Lucic sounded torn over the scope of the Cup tour he has planned in Vancouver. He wants to have it at his home, where his mother, father, and two brothers can enjoy it with extended family and friends. But he also wants to take it to his high school, the arena where he first played, and then up to the top of Grouse Mountain, which was still capped with snow last week.
“I want to get a picture of it up there,’’ said Lucic, “with the city down below.’’
Jeremy Jacobs, prone to the verbal faux pas throughout his three-plus decades of ownership, grew nearly sullen when asked if finally winning the Cup offered any perspective on why his previous teams failed. Were those other editions too short on parts, on luck, on management?
“I don’t want to . . .,’’ said Jacobs, who previously lauded Peter Chiarelli, Cam Neely, and Jacobs’s son, Charlie, for their roles, “ . . . we’ve gained from our experience and that’s great. Now we plan for tomorrow, that’s our focus.’’