Mark Recchi on Stanley Cup, retirement

Originally Published: June 23, 2011
By Thomas Neumann | Page 2

Mark RecchiDave Sandford/NHLI/Getty ImagesMark Recchi retires as a Stanley Cup champ, 23 years after the Penguins drafted him No. 67 overall.

Mark Recchi couldn't have dreamed up a script much better than this.

He won the third Stanley Cup championship of his career last week, racking up three goals and four assists as the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Moments after hoisting the Cup in his native British Columbia, he triumphantly announced his retirement after 22 NHL seasons at age 43.

Only three players in history -- Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis -- have played in more NHL games than Recchi, a seven-time All-Star who was the league's active career leader in assists and points this past season. He's the oldest player ever to score a goal in the Stanley Cup finals. He's also active in charitable endeavors and one of the owners of his hometown junior hockey team, the Kamloops Blazers.

When Recchi stopped by ESPN on Thursday for a series of interviews to promote Reebok ZigTech shoes, Page 2 somehow convinced him we're a credible outlet worthy of his time.

Here's what transpired:

Page 2: What do the Bruins need to do to fill your big shoes?

Recchi: They have some good young players. Obviously, [Tyler] Seguin will play more next year. [Jordan] Caron is gonna be ready. So they have some young players who are ready to step in and fill my spot. [General manager] Peter [Chiarelli] does a great job, and they've got a bunch of winners in that dressing room and great leaders who will step up.

What did you do during your time with the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 2006?

The first time, I had it for only half a day. I was in Pittsburgh, and I just took it up with some friends and family. The second time, I had it for 2½ days. I took it back to Kamloops, British Columbia, and had a whole bunch of things. I brought it to the arena, and people could get a picture with it and then family and friends for a couple days. Then, I had a golf tournament, and actually, Bobby Orr came in so sponsors could get a picture with him and the Cup and me and the Cup.

Have you decided what you're going to do during your time with the Cup this year?

I'd like to bring it back to Kamloops again, but maybe keep it more low-key this time. … I'm an ambassador for the Royal Inland Hospital, and I want to bring it up there for the kids and the staff up there. Then I want to have it in Boston and enjoy it there for a day, so I'm hoping I can sneak a couple days in.

What's the most bizarre thing you've seen done to the Cup during a celebration?

Obviously, everyone drinks out of it. But I've seen it at the bottom of the pool at Mario [Lemieux's house]. That was back when we didn't have the white-gloved guys walking around. I slept with it. I'm sure there are lots of great stories out there that can't be told.

[+] EnlargeMark Recchi
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesRecchi racked up two goals and four assists as the Carolina Hurricanes won the 2006 Stanley Cup.

How did it end up at the bottom of the pool? Is there anyone who specifically deserves the credit for that?

Guys were just holding it, and it got heavy, and it just went. [Laughs.] I think there was a whole bunch of guys.

You're a wine collector who has a 1,000-bottle cellar in your home. What's the most you've ever paid for a bottle?

I bought a 1970 Petrus for about $800. I've had it since Montreal -- 15 years probably.

When do you plan on drinking it?

Now is the time. … I'm going to really enjoy it.

Of the seven teams you played for [Penguins, Flyers, Canadiens, Hurricanes, Thrashers, Lightning and Bruins], which one has the best fans and why?

I've been in great cities, different cities. I'd say Boston, Philly and Pittsburgh are very similar as sports towns. Obviously, winning in Boston and Pittsburgh, you really see it. I think Boston is ultimately one of the best sports cities you can be around. The tradition is incredible.

You have a street named for you in your hometown of Kamloops, British Columbia. Is it safe to say it's impossible for you to get a speeding ticket there?

You can't go very fast down that street. It's actually where my dad was born and raised and the arena where the junior team plays is on it. My brother actually lives in that house now.

[+] EnlargeMark Recchi
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesRecchi first hoisted the Stanley Cup as a 23-year-old when the Penguins captured their first title in 1991.

How will you spend your time in retirement?

I'm gonna chill for a little while and hang out with my kids. I'd like to get into [hockey] management at some point, so I'll slowly ease my way into it and learn the business side a little bit more. … Being a GM is a big commitment. Whether I really want to take that step, I'll see how it evolves over the next few years. I want to do it right and learn the right way.

What kind of reception do you think you and Milan Lucic will get when you take the Cup back to British Columbia?

He might get it a little more than me because he's from right there in Vancouver. But in my hometown, it's funny, as an ambassador for the hospital there's a picture of me in a Bruins uniform. But they kept switching it, and putting Vancouver on there. It was all in fun.

You were a Canucks fan growing up. Who was your favorite player and why?

Stan Smyl. I loved how hard he worked. He was such a competitive guy. He's had some talent, but he was more of a grinder. Work, work, work and do whatever it took.

Who were your favorite players regardless of team?

Bryan Trottier and Gilbert Perreault. Trottier, when [the Islanders] were winning those Cups, he was competitive, he scored, he made plays, he was physical and did it all. Gilbert Perreault was just more of a dynamic, real smooth-skating guy. I just really liked the way he skated and played.

What was the most rewarding part of your work with Royal Inland Hospital?

It's all to do with children. Now I'm an ambassador, and we're trying to raise $3 million, and we're about $1 million away. It's remarkable. I love anything to do with children. I was born in that hospital, and I want to see those kids get the best care.

Thomas Neumann is an editor for Page 2.

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