Recchi caps career with third Cup
After Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, when Vancouver defeated Boston 1-0 to take a 3-2 series lead, Mark Recchi of the Bruins spoke with his father, Mel.
Mark, the Kamloops native who was winding down his remarkable, 22-year career, told his dad Boston would cross the country and win Game 6 in Beantown, then return to Vancouver and hoist the Cup in Game 7 at Rogers Arena.
Turns out Mark was right, though he decided against making the now-obligatory public guarantee, thereby saving himself from looking a tad foolish if his pronouncement fell as flat as the Canucks' offence.
Mel said his son was just as confident after the fist two games in Vancouver, when the Canucks' leaped to a 2-0 series lead, inspiring chatter about a possible sweep.
"He was still confident," Mel told KTW the morning after his son held the Cup aloft for the third time in his career.
"He still thought they were going to win it. I think that hit on [Boston Bruin forward Nathan] Horton really turned the tide."
During his sporadic conversations with his son, Mel said Mark never commented on Roberto Luongo or any other Canuck — unlike Luongo, whose remarks about Boston goalie Tim Thomas following Game 5 were jumped on by media in both cities.
Mark said before the series began that he would retire if the Bruins managed to capture the sixth Cup in club history.
"But, I think he was going to retire regardless," Mel said, noting the toll 22 years in the National Hockey League can take on a body, even though Mark was playing like a man 20 years younger than is 43 years, amassing 14 points in this post-season, including a point-per-game final in the championship series.
Mark ended his career the same way it began — by winning the Stanley Cup.
The former Kamloops Blazer's first full season was 1990-1991 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, He led the club in scoring, with 113 points, as Pittsburgh won its first title.
He won the Cup for the second time with Carolina in 2006.
"This one is really special," Mel said. " His last year in the league, in B.C., and he wins it. It's really special."
Mel said he spoke with Mark after the game, when younger son Matt was on the ice and handed his cellphone to his bother.
"He was all excited, of course. It was a great way to end his career," Mel said. "It was pretty noisy. It was pretty hectic."
While Canuck fans in Kamloops may be disappointed with the Game 7 result, the upside is the Bruin win means Mark will be bringing the Cup to the city some time this summer.
"I'm not sure when," Mel said, "but I think he's like to come back soon as he has the RIH Foundation [fundraising campaign for the intensive-care unit] he is working with."
While each Bruin gets his alloted time with Lord Stanley's mug, which may travel to seven countries and eight provinces, Aug. 5 looks like a perfect time to bring the trophy to Kamloops.
That's the day of the annual golf tournament of the Kamloops Blazers — of which Mark is a co-owner. It is also the start of the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.