Recchi still going strong

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After a day away from the rink, the Bruins practiced for the third straight day Wednesday. While it might have seemed like the perfect time for the Bruins to give 41-year-old forward Mark Recchi some more time to recharge his battery, the future Hall of Famer hit the Ristuccia Arena ice for a third straight hour-long session.

Three months into the regular season, Recchi has received the odd day off here and there but for the most part has raised his level of play from the doldrums of the first month of the season without any special treatment.

"We've talked about it. The second half of the year, I'm sure coach will," said Recchi about getting more time off as the season wears on. "We've had discussions about it. It's important obviously & we're 30 games in but everyone still feels pretty good by this time -- or decent anyway -- I'm sure there'll be times that the coach will feel it's better for me to hit the gym."

Without extra time off, Recchi has battled his way through the first 29 games of this season and managed to boost his production to where you'd expect it to be. He's put up five goals and 10 assists, along with a plus-1 rating. In his last 14 games, he's posted 3-8-11 totals. And, of course, there's no way to quantify the goals and scoring chances the Bruins generate due to his presence in front of the opposition's net.

Recchi's production can be loosely tied to his association with linemates Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron.

"I think our line is really strong every night and real consistent. And I think that's real important," said Recchi. "We obviously have a job to do, so consistency is going to be a big part of that for us. I think we've been very consistent, so it's fun."

At this stage of his career, you'd think Recchi would want to just go out and pad his offensive résumé, which already features more than 500 goals and 900 assists. But he's relishing the opportunity to check against an opponent's top line as much as boost the power play and attack 5-on-5.

"We look at the lines and (head coach Claude Julien) doesn't really say too much. We say, 'OK, we know we're going to play against this line,'" said Recchi. "We have to be sharp and it's kind of automatic, especially with Bergy. Whoever plays with Bergy knows they're playing against that top line. It's a great challenge and I really, really like it.

"It's a great thing. You don't want to let your teammates down, you don't want to let the coach down," he continued. "It's not going to be perfect every night. There's going to be the odd time when it just happens, you get beat. But I think for the most part, if we can be 90, 95 percent, we'll be doing a great job against the other team's top line."

Loose pucks

Derek Morris returned to practice after missing the last two days for maintenance. "Today was the perfect practice for me," he said. & Dennis Wideman skipped the team session again today but for the second straight day went onto the ice with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides. One drill involved Wideman shooting about 40 pucks that were lined up across the tops of the circles without stopping. Needless to say it ended with him on his stomach waiting for his breath to return.