Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hello Old Friend

Naturally when a change is made, like a good player joining a new team or a new coach joins a team, there is a pop and for a period things go well. Mark Recchi (who had just 2 goals and 6 assists in 19 games in Pittsburgh, despite prime ice-time with Sidney Crosby and the #1 powerplay unit) has 7 goals and 8 assists in 15 games for his new team, the Atlanta Thrashers. Old man Recchi has been on a line almost exclusively with goal scoring dynamo Ilya Kovalchuk, so it's hardly as if he hasn't been surronded by talent himself on his new club.

The Penguins, for their part, are 18-6 without Recchi in the lineup, so the lack of his famed "veteran presence" hasn't seemed to doom the club just yet.

One has to wonder at the way Recchi's era as a Penguin ended: coach Michel Therrien frequently made him a healthy scratch and either he or Recchi seemed unwilling to put "Drive 8" in anything but a Top 6 role. Obviously Old Man Recchi isn't an imposing checker, but he has always been somewhat of an energy player that will attempt to throw a hit or two and play pretty hard every game. Briefly after the T-bombs got him off of re-entry waivers, several important forwards (Maxime Talbot, Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone) all suffered injury and surely would have opened up a spot for Recchi to become a contributing member to the team again.
But it wasn't to be and now Recchi is in Atlanta, a team two points out of a playoff spot, but a team that has played 1 or 2 more games than most around them in the standings.

Interesting plot lines to follow; will Recchi be able to help the Thrashers claw into the playoffs after such a horrid start? Will the Penguins miss Recchi's production and leadership come playoff time. The man did score 68 points last year and has 2 Stanley Cup's to his name, and the Penguins cast him aside like some sort of journeyman tweener.


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