BOSTON – Mark Recchi joined the Boston Bruins hoping to win his fourth Stanley Cup, and he decided to stay with them for another shot at it.
The NHL’s sixth leading active goal scorer agreed to a US$1-million, one-year deal plus bonuses Thursday.
The 41-year-old Recchi, obtained on March 4 from Tampa Bay, said four days after the Bruins were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs that he might retire if they didn’t offer him a contract.
“He was of the mind that he had such a wonderful experience that if the club would like him to come back, he’d consider it,” his agent Richard Curran said in a telephone interview. “He wanted to come back and finish what they started.”
Boston obtained Recchi as it tried to improve for the stretch drive. The Bruins ended up with the best record in the Eastern Conference but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in a seven-game series.
Recchi has been part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams – Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992 and Carolina in 2006. He has 545 goals and 897 assists for 1,442 points in 1,490 regular-season games for seven clubs. He had six goals and 10 assists in 18 regular-season games with Boston.
Curran thought Recchi might have kept playing even if the Bruins didn’t bring him back.
“There were so many teams that expressed interest, a couple in particular, that he might have played,” Curran said. “He’s still got lots of gas in his tank.”
It followed three others announced by the Bruins on Wednesday with forwards Steve Begin and Byron Bitz and defenceman Johnny Boychuck.
Begin signed a one-year deal after finishing last season with Dallas following 4 1/2 years in Montreal. Bitz signed a multiyear contract after an impressive rookie season, and Boychuck got a one-year deal after scoring 20 goals in the AHL last season.
Boston lost free agent defenceman Steve Montador, obtained the same day as Recchi, to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins wanted Recchi back after seeing the 20-year veteran’s ability, determination and influence on younger players. He played the final game against Carolina after undergoing surgery to remove a kidney stone the previous night.
“Obviously, I was pretty sore,” Recchi said four days after the game. “I don’t wish it on my worst enemy, but we all play through stuff. It’s really no big deal.”
Recchi ranks 14th in NHL history in games and points, 18th in assists and 26th in goals. Among active players, he is second in points and assists, third in games and sixth in goals.
Last season, his totals in 80 games with Tampa Bay and Boston were 23 goals and 38 assists. He added three goals and three assists in 11 playoff games.
Forward P.J. Axelsson, who spent all of his 11 seasons with Boston, became an unrestricted free agent but will consider returning, general manager Peter Chiarelli said. Forward Stephane Yelle, who played one season with the Bruins, will not return.