BOSTON — When Mark Recchi is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame some time in the next decade, the story of how he battled through the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals at 41 years old will be right up there with the tales of his Cup wins and all the goals he scored.
If you can believe it, doctors discovered Recchi had a kidney stone while examining the veteran Boston Bruins winger’s ribs the morning after Game 4 of the Carolina series. The night before Game 7 — 5 p.m. to be exact — Recchi actually had surgery to remove the stone.
“Obviously, I was pretty sore. I don’t know if anyone has ever had one of them, but I don’t wish it on my worst enemy,” Recchi said today during the Bruins’ year-end media availabilities. “But we all play through stuff and it’s really no big deal. The guys, at this time of year, everybody plays through a lot of things. So it just felt like I could still help and still play and I went out there and tried.”
Recchi, who also suffered a fractured rib against the Hurricanes, wasn’t the only injured winger on Patrice Bergeron’s line. Chuck Kobasew had suffered broken ribs in Game 1. He had to wear a flack jacket for the rest of the series.
“It wasn’t the most comfortable thing,” said Kobasew.
Oddly enough, Kobasew’s play actually improved as the series went on.
“It was tough for a couple games there. And being physical, I felt it every time I got hit or crosschecked. … The pain got a little better and I got more and more used to playing that way,” said Kobasew, who also had to have doctor’s freeze the injury before games to limit the pain.
Recchi’s play actually got better later in the series as well. But he had the stent removed the morning of Game 7 and had hardly had anything to eat or drink in the aftermath of the surgery. Even now, he’s still recovering.
“I don’t yet (feel 100 percent). It still feels like I have it in there, and that’s natural,” said Recchi. “I guess as it goes on, I still get like there’s an actual stone in there.”
So the center who missed all of last season with a concussion was relatively healthy by the end of the postseason run, but his wingers were both hindered by debilitating injuries. How’s that for irony? While the courage of Recchi, Kobasew and the other injured Bruins didn’t pay off in a run to the Cup, it didn’t serve as inspiration and a lesson for some of the younger Bruins.
“When you see a guy like Mark Recchi go through what he did, you never complain about an injury again because that’s got to be the most excruciating pain a guy can go through and still suit up and play,” said rookie winger Byron Bitz. “I think it was good for our team to see that because you see some of the other guys are hurt. And they’re like, ‘well, I can do this if he’s doing it.’”