BOSTON – Forty-two-year-old Mark Recchi wants to stick around and be a part of the Boston Bruins’ youth movement.
Recchi signed a one-year contract to return to Boston for a 22nd NHL season, making him the league’s oldest active player under contract. It also gives him a chance to play with 18-year-old prospect Tyler Seguin—the No. 2 overall selection in last week’s draft.
“I think it’s wonderful any time you can get a kid like that. That’s a franchise player,” Recchi said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “Throw this kid in the mix, he’s going to be an important part.”
A seven-time all-star, Recchi leads active players with 922 assists and is second with 563 goals. He is ninth in career NHL games played with 1,571, but after another full season could move up as high as fourth.
“My first run, I went two weeks ago and about halfway in I thought about retiring. But I love playing, so why not play as long as I’m enjoying it?” Recchi said. “We’re getting to the point where my kids are older and I have to make some decisions based on that. … It’s year-to-year. At the end of next year, i’ll do it again.”
The Bruins reached the Eastern Conference semifinals this year, taking a 3-0 lead over Philadelphia before the Flyers tied the series and then came back from a three-goal deficit in Game 7 to advance. Boston is just the third NHL team to lose a playoff series it led by three games.
“It really hurts. I’ve never been so disappointed the way the season ended,” Recchi said. “I’m excited about coming back. I think the Bruins are going in the right direction.”
And Seguin is a big reason why.
Despite reaching the playoffs, they were able to take him second overall with the pick they got for trading Phil Kessel to Toronto. The Edmonton Oilers earned the right to take Taylor Hall with the No. 1 overall pick by posting the worst record in the NHL.
Recchi said Seguin will benefit from playing with a team that doesn’t need him to produce right away.
“He can come in and he can learn and grow and be a part of a good hockey team,” Recchi said. “I think that’s important for a young kid in his development.”
Recchi’s ability to mentor young players is one of the reasons general manager Peter Chiarelli wants him around.
“He’s looking forward to helping the younger kids,” Chiarelli said. “The whole group has to help the younger kids and manage their expectations, manage their lifestyles and all that. It’s a group effort, but someone like Mark who has done it and has done it successfully will be an asset to our team.”
Recchi had 18 goals and 25 assists last season plus a team-leading six goals along with four assists in 13 playoff games. He was acquired by the Bruins from the Lightning in March 2009; he has also played for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montreal, Carolina, and Atlanta.
If 48-year-old Chris Chelios, who can become an unrestricted free agent, doesn’t return to the NHL, Recchi would be the oldest player in the league. Chelios played seven games with the Atlanta Thrashers last season, his 26th in the NHL.