Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recchi's return

"I want to play a little longer. This year, another year, a couple years — I want to put those people who doubt you to rest."
There's no disputing Mark Recchi's closer to the end of his career than most, and I'm not going to go on and on about how he managed two goals in his first game with the Atlanta Thrashers.

After all, he was minus one and his team did lose the game. (The minus came as the result of being on the ice for an empty netter.)

But Recchi's been pretty soundly trashed the past few weeks for a 39-year-old greybeard who (1) had 68 points last season, the majority of which were at even strength (2) played nearly 20 minutes a game, (3) played on one of the top power plays in the league, and (4) faced the most difficult opposition among Penguins forwards. Sure, he played 70 per cent of his ice time alongside Sidney Crosby, but there were 47 NHLers ranked ahead of Recchi in terms of quality of teammates at even strength last season, including fellow Crosby linemate Ryan Malone, who managed all of 31 points last season.

The golden touch doesn't extend to everyone, apparently.

The media in Pittsburgh certainly weren't on his side, and the blogosphere's predicted his end, but Recchi's found a perfect spot in Atlanta, a team that's always been short on secondary scoring and where he can mesh with offensive stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa. He went through a brutal slump to end the 2006-07 season — and likely needed a change of scenery in the off-season — but the one thing he didn't get enough of a chance to do was to play a depth, energy role in Pittsburgh, and that's where I think Recchi can excel.

The list of Penguins who have played poorly this season is a long one, and judging by recent results, little has changed in the wake of shuttling out a scapegoat. Jordan Staal's been on the ice for twice as many even-strength goals against as for, and players like Petr Sykora, Ryan Whitney, Colby Armstrong, Adam Hall, Gary Roberts, Erik Christensen, Darryl Sydor and Georges Laraque have all been lit up against relatively limp opposition.

Worst of all, however, the Penguins have allowed 28 goals against on the penalty kill, fifth most in the league.

And Recchi wasn't on the ice for a single one.

"Mark Recchi is a legend. A guy like me, I grew up watching him and idolizing him," teammate Eric Perrin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday. "He's one of those small guys that I like to emulate. He's a feisty guy who gets his nose dirty all the time."

Underrated way back when, underrated now. But here's one guy who just isn't going to quit.

Labels: , ,


At 9:09 a.m., December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mirtle, I understand you are a Recchi guy, and you make valid points regarding him playing with Crosby last year and doing well in comparison to people like Malone. It is also safe to say that many Pens so far are having a bad year. The problem I see is you neglect to mention the most important thing -- the MOST IMPORTANT THING to any NHL team: that is the fact that when Recchi was in the lineup, the Pens were losing more than they were winning. When he was sitting, the Pens went on to win more than they lost. Isn't the idea to win?

The Penguins had one bad game back east after winning 3 in a row on the west coast, that doesn't mean they've regressed again. The "judging by recent results" is a cheap shot and you know one game is no indication. Every team in the NHL has a bad game over the course of a season.

Recchi had one two goal game in his first night with a new team and lots of adrenaline and motivation. Kudos to him, but that doesn't mean he is back to being a 68 point producer either. Again, one game is no indication.

I don't doubt Recchi has some good games left in him and I'm glad to see him catch on in Atlanta, but you seem to attack the Penguins for sitting him and then letting him go, when in hindsight it seems like it was clearly the right move for them. He isn't a "scapegoat" if sitting him actually helped the team -- he was part of the problem that is now on its way to being fixed. Maybe you could mention that -- and the Pens record with and without Recchi -- when you're judging Pens management decisions.

I know this is your opinion and Recchi is your buddy, but the bias in this post is a bit more than I expected to read on this site. Individual stats are great, but the only thing an NHL team cares about is wins. Period. The fact remains that the Pens are winning more without Recchi on the ice.

At 10:44 a.m., December 13, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Look, everyone and their pet cat has written that Recchi's ready to be put out to pasture, and I've linked to voices that reflect that point of view. It's not one I hold, and I'm simply arguing that here.

If the Penguins are playing better without Recchi in the lineup, imagine how they'll do when Staal finally sits.

At 12:59 p.m., December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think its more of a tribute to a coach who doesn't know how to use his players.

but i haven't seen recchi take a shot as wicked as that first goal in a long long time.

At 3:00 p.m., December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that I'm a Recchi fan, the way he shivved Crosby in his rookie year. But it's not Recchi's fault the Pens are "coached" by a guy who can't tell an X from an O and who rarely keeps a line together for more than a period. If there's a worse coach in the NHL, I don't know who it is. What a colossal waste of talent.


Post a Comment

<< Home


Free Page Rank Checker
eXTReMe Tracker