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Recchi on D&C interview transcript

05.05.10 at 10:48 am ET
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Mark Recchi

Mark Recchi

Bruins forward Mark Recchi joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his team’s playoff series against the Flyers.

With the Bruins up 2-0 in the series on the day of Game 3, Recchi expects the Flyers to come out with plenty of intensity as they face a must-win situation. “We know it was two good games, two hard-fought games, and it is going to be no different tonight,” he said. “We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first 5-7 minutes and then push back. And if we can do that, it will play into our favor as well.”

Asked how he thinks his younger teammates will handle the hostile crowd, Recchi said he doesn’t think it will be much of an issue. “They won’t get unnerved about stuff like that at all,” he said. “Our guys are ready for everything. We’ve been in it, and Buffalo was a pretty crazy building as well. We’ve seen it first-hand, and Philly fans probably take it up a notch, but at the same time that won’t bother our guys.”

The Bruins’ struggles during the regular season were well documented. Despite that, the team has persevered and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Recchi was asked if he ever had doubts that the Bruins would right the ship during moments like the team’s 10-game losing streak. “When you believe in the guys sitting beside you, in the dressing room, that never crosses your mind,” he said.  “My biggest thing was I knew we had it in us, because we could control games and dominate games, but then we just couldn’t find that consistency. And I knew it was there. We did it the year before. a lot of these young guys had done it the year before. So in the end I wasn’t too unhappy that we went through that rough patch because I believe it makes you grow.”

The 42-year-old also talked about his transitions as a player over the last 20 years. “At 22 I was just a young offensive player who was very gifted offensively,” he said. “I was still learning to be a leader, but I had some great guys in the dressing room like Bryan Trottier and Joe Mullen. Thirty-two, I had become kind of a leader and was better at it. I was still an offensive player but I was getting better at two-way. And 42 is not as good offensively, but responsible defensively and I think I am a good leader in the dressing room.”

To listen to the interview, click here. A transcript is below.

Even though you guys are up 2-0, is the fact that you could have lost either of those games a good or bad thing in the team’s mind?

Well, as long as we understand that it could have went both ways I think that is the important thing — that you learn from it. We know it was two good games, two hard fought games and it is going to be no different tonight. We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first five to seven minutes and then push back. And if we can do that it will play into our favor as well.

You almost have to expect this will be their best effort tonight. Is that safe to say?

Absolutely. They will throw everything at us but the kitchen sink. We’ll have to be ready for it and like I said we’ll have to push back. And if we can and we can weather it then it is going to be a tight game again.

If it doesn’t work for the Bruins, and it does for the Flyers, when do you expect it to get ugly?

Well, you never know with this rivalry. Both are big teams and physical teams, so you just never know.

Does the hostile crowd affect you?

Once you get out there playing, it doesn’t really matter. It is loud and when team’s come to our building it’s loud and energetic. It is a fun atmosphere to be in regardless of what building you are in. That’s what it is all about and the playoffs are fun, so you’ve got to enjoy it. Enjoy that 18,000 people hate you.

We know Marc Savard has been accused of biting an opponent. Andy Brickley told us he has been on both ends of that. How about you?

My eye has been gouged, but I’ve never had the opportunity to actually bite someone. But it does happen in those piles. There is stuff that goes on there that no one can see and guys are trying to do whatever. I don’t know if it happened or not but if it did, whatever. It’s part of the game and it is part of what has been going on for a long time.

Do you ever get tired of people putting this phrase in front of your name — “42-year-old” Mark Recchi.

I have a buddy who actually texted me and said, ‘I don’t know you as Mark Recchi anymore, I just know you as the 42-year-old Mark.

How much does it hurt to get out of bed at this age?

It doesn’t. Not at all.

I need you to take a hard look at Mark Recchi the hockey player. What is the difference at 22, at 32 and at 42?

At 22 I was just a young offensive player who was very gifted offensively. I was still learning to be a leader, but I had some great guys in the dressing room like Bryan Trottier and Joe Mullen. Thirty-two, I had become kind of a leader and was better at it. I was still an offensive player but I was getting better at two-way. And 42 is not as good offensively, but responsible defensively and I think I am a good leader in the dressing room.

Does your knowledge of the game help you gain a step?

Absolutely. Because first of all, the guys are so much bigger and faster know than when I first came in. There were big guys then, but when I first came in they weren’t mobile at all. Very rarely could they move. And now all the big guys are — if not the best skaters — good skaters. So you definitely have to have the smarts and know how to position yourself to: 1) keep out of trouble and 2) make big plays, find ways to score goals or whatever.

You talked about being a presence in the locker room. I’m curious to know what the young guys asked you before the playoffs.

When you’ve been through playoff wars and stuff like this in the minors, the only thing that changes is the intensity. So you just kind of talk as a whole as a team and you realize that this is a fun time. This is a great time of year right now. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Don’t let the pressure grab you. If you do that, you’re going to really have a good time with this and we’re going to be a better team for it.

I don’t recall another team here that was so far down in the dumps in everyone’s minds and then turned it around like this. Were you guys aware of what everyone was saying?

We believed in ourselves in the dressing room, and what we were trying to do. We knew we weren’t consistent, so we really didn’t give [the fans] a lot of reasons to believe in us. But at the same time, we knew that if we found that consistency and that competitive edge every night, then we would be a team that’s very tough to play against. We found it at the right time. With all the injuries and everything we’ve been through, we really stuck together as a group. Through all the doubters and the naysayers, we hung in there together. We didn’t push apart. We actually grew together as a team more than anything.

Were you ever a doubter?

No. When you believe in the guys sitting beside you, in the dressing room, that never crosses your mind. My biggest thing was I knew we had it in us, because we could control games and dominate games, but then we just couldn’t find that consistency. And I knew it was there. We did it the year before. a lot of these young guys had done it the year before. So in the end I wasn’t too unhappy that we went through that rough patch because I believe it makes you grow.

Is there a defining moment or defining game at the end of that 10-game losing streak that you could call  a “launching point” going forward?

Believe it or not, during that seven-game road trip we were on we really started to play well together. It was great being on the road together for a long stretch of time. We had a lot of fun together and we stuck together through it all. Unfortunately the [Savard] thing happened, which brought us together even more. We had to pull together even more because we lost our best playmaking centerman. So we had a lot of things we had to pull together for and I think that really helped us. Did we respond against Pittsburgh? No, it wasn’t the greatest thing. But the bottom line was we were in a playoff hunt and we were on a fine line of what to do. Do you go crazy and get guys suspended and all of a sudden miss the playoffs by two points or do you do what you have to do to make the playoffs. And ultimately that is the choice we had to make.

Savard really made a statement by taking those guys on. Are you beating the Flyers at their own game?

Well, that is our game, too. That is what makes us a factor. It is almost like people wake the sleeping giant. We get involved in these games, we seem to really get the emotion and are able to play a better hockey game. It is great that Savvy — he could have just laid down after he got hit but he is a competitive guy and he is showing that he is willing to stick up and is ready for this battle. And that is important. That is fine; we’ll kill those penalties and do the job for them.

Did you hear Mike Richards say that he was going to give Savard another concussion, and if so do you have a problem with it?

I didn’t hear it. I just actually heard about it for the first time last night, so that is just really in the competition unless he goes out and acts on it, then we have to look into it. But that is just part of the heat of the moment and a lot of things get said on the ice that really can’t get repeated half of the time.

Are you confident that your young teammates will handle this hostile environment as well as you will?

They won’t get unnerved about stuff like that at all. Our guys are ready for everything. We’ve been in it and Buffalo was a pretty crazy building as well. We’ve seen it first-hand, and Philly fans probably take it up a notch, but at the same time that won’t bother our guys.

The biggest trash talker on the Celtics happens to be the biggest in the NBA, and that is Kevin Garnett. Is trash talking a big part of playoff hockey in the NHL and who has the best and funniest repertoire?

Probably Shawn Thornton, he’s really protective of his players, his teammates. So he’s probably one of the biggest guys. Our coach behind the bench is probably one of them, too. It’s pretty funny.

Is Daniel Carcillo funny? He never stops yapping.

He’s actually not funny at all. There’s nothing funny to his repertoire at all.

At 42, you obviously are still enjoying the game. Do you look at this as the reward for all the lift sessions and everything?

Absolutely, this is what it’s all about right here. You play all year to get to this point and the treadmill and all the sprint work and leg work, this is when it pays off you hope.

How many more years are you going to do this?

I’m not sure. I will figure it out at the end of the year. Every year at the end of the season I sit down and figure it out, and figure out whether I want to do my sprints and that before I drink my red wine.

Does winning or not winning a Cup impact that decision?

It might. If we win then it wouldn’t be a bad way to go out. But hopefully that comes to fruition and I can make that decision at the end.

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