Final grades: Mark Recchi

Recchi/By S. Bradley

When he was acquired from Tampa Bay by the Bruins at the 2009 trade deadline, Mark Recchi was considered a solid, supplemental player for a team gearing up for a championship run. When he re-signed with Boston in the aftermath of that failed effort to secure a title, Recchi still looked like just a piece of the puzzle.

However, in 2009-10, during a season that saw him turn 42 years old, Recchi emerged as one of Boston’s best and most reliable players in all three zones.

Whether that reflects poorly on the Bruins or well on him or, is a question that could probably be answered by splitting the difference. Recchi finished fourth on the team in points, first in power-play goals and posted a plus-4 rating while skating all year long on Patrice Bergeron’s line against other teams’ top trios. Suddenly, Recchi doesn’t look like the type of player a team re-signs for just one year as a complementary player, but a guy that can be counted on to produce in a top six for a year or two.

We won’t know for a few weeks if Recchi’s Hall-of-Fame career continues with the Bruins, we just know that it’s headed toward an impressive conclusion because he doesn’t look like he’s about to slow down.

Stats: 81 GP, 18-25-43, 34 PIM, plus-4

Season highlight: For a while this winter, it looked like the Bruins’ Winter Classic victory might be the only thing to talk about when the 2009-10 season concluded. That overtime victory wouldn’t have been possible had Recchi not been in the place he usually is — in front of the net — when Derek Morris attempted a slap shot from the point that went off Recchi’s stick and into the net to tie the score at 1 with 2:18 left in regulation.

Season low-light: Recchi had visions of finishing his career with a Stanley Cup title when he signed on for one more year with the Bruins. Now if he decides to retire, the last thing he’ll be remembered for is being part of the worst collapse in hockey in 25 years. That’s not the way to go out and will undoubtedly affect his decision this summer.

Final grade: A

Sure, Recchi went through scoring slumps as bad as the rest of his teammates. But he made up for it by always giving a 100-percent effort and serving as a vocal leader that rallied his team with words when a playoff berth looked like a pipe dream.

The crystal ball says … Recchi will play, but it’s not certain that he’ll be in Boston. The Bruins’ desire to get younger and Recchi’s hopes of winning one more Cup might make it more likely he lands elsewhere.

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