Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Former Penguin Mark Recchi elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

By Jonathan Bombulie
June 26, 2017
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When reflecting on the dominance of the Penguins' Stanley Cup teams of the early 1990s, hockey fans often marvel at the number of Hall of Fame players on the roster.
On Monday, they could add another name to the list.
That's when former Penguins winger Mark Recchi was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his fourth year of eligibility.
When he's inducted in November, he will join Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, Joe Mullen and Bryan Trottier in enshrinement in Toronto.
“It's absolutely incredible and humbling,” Recchi said. “They're all great friends. To be in there with them and to play with them and now to join them in this, I never expected this when I started playing in the NHL. To get this call today ... it was incredible. It's an unbelievable honor.”
Recchi was well-traveled as a player, suiting up for seven teams during a 22-year career. A fourth-round draft pick of the Penguins in 1988, he kept coming back to Pittsburgh no matter where his hockey road traveled.
Recchi played parts of seven seasons with the Penguins in three stints with the team. He ranks in the top 20 in team history in goals (154) and points (385).
He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1991 before being traded to Philadelphia in '92. He also won championships with Carolina in 2006 and Boston in his final season in '11.
He is the Penguins director of player development and excused himself from a meeting at the team's practice facility in Cranberry on Monday afternoon when he received the call from the Hall of Fame.
“Pittsburgh became my home,” Recchi said. “I pretty much stayed here through all the times, wherever I was. It was just a seamless transition to go back. I didn't foresee seven teams I played for and bouncing back and forth in between with Pittsburgh, but I think Pittsburgh is a great place to live and a great city to be in and a great place to raise my kids.
“I grew up in a small town, and Pittsburgh has a great small-town feel, even though it's a couple million people. It just has that nice feel.”
Recchi's case for enshrinement is built largely around sustained excellence for a long period of time. He had 15 20-goal seasons and earned seven All-Star bids. He ranks fifth in games played (1,652), 12th in points (1,533) and 20th in goals (577) in the history of the league.
“It was just an honor to play 22 years,” Recchi said. “To stay healthy through that, it was never easy. Taking care of myself on and off the ice was a huge part of it, being prepared to play every day and being mentally prepared obviously helped me. I loved playing the game, and I loved getting out there. Whatever I could do to play, I did.”
Recchi probably had to wait four years for induction because his career lacked an eye-popping stretch of dominance. He never finished higher than sixth in MVP balloting.
“It's something where it has to play out its course, and if I got in, wonderful,” Recchi said. “I did what I could on the ice. If it was good enough, it was good enough. I had a wonderful career. I had wonderful teammates. This is the ultimate to finish it off. You can only do so much. You've got to let your numbers and your play dictate where it gets you.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.comor via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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