Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mark Recchi Autographed Card

Most think he's a shoe-in for the Hall Of Fame, and the numbers alone indeed lean towards that. However, he's lucky that in hockey, a player doesn't have to enter the Hall representing only one team (like baseball), because he'd have a hard time choosing, having worn 7 different NHL uniforms in his 22 seasons, including two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and three (!!!) with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He's won 3 Stanley Cups (Pittsburgh in 1991, Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and Boston Bruins in 2011), each time eliminating the Montréal Canadiens en route - another of his former teams. As a Montrealer, what I remember the most about Recchi's stint here is, firstly, what he cost us to acquire (39-goal wonder-rookie Gilbert Dionne, Team Canada staple defenseman and eventual Flyers captain Éric Desjardins, and giant super-sniper John LeClair) compared with what we got back for him when he requested to get traded 4 years later (Dainius Zubrus and Matt Carkner), as well as the fact that his productivity dipped considerably while manning the first line here...

My problem with the Hall is my definition of it: I think it should only recognize generational talent, players who dominated their era, collected hardware, were recognized as part of the best of their profession, and ideally were the best on their own team at least once. None of that applies to Recchi, but the same can be said for current Hall members Larry Murphy, Mike Gartner and more than a few others. It was pretty easy in the early 1990s to get 100 points with Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros feeding you and creating space, he couldn't get it done with Saku Koivu, Keith Primeau or Jeremy Roenick, though...

Still, he didn't steal his 7 All-Star Game appearances or his three Cups. He was a very consistent player who made his place on any team's top-6 forwards, be they superstar-based superpowers or average teams.

He signed this card for me while with the Bruins, during his final NHL season:
It's from Upper Deck's 2006-07 SP Authentic set (card #22) and shows him wearing the Penguins' white (away) uniform, probably the one team I identify him with the most. He now serves as a consultant with the Dallas Stars; though he's never played for them, he is a close friend of their owner's, Tom Gaglardi.

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