I'll admit, this is an interest Penguin of the past because technically his career is not "in the past." But after his treatment back in November 2007, it's safe to say Mark Recchi will never return to Steel Town.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Mark Recchi is a story of ups and downs, followed by an all new set of ups and new downs and finally settled with a controversial nail in the proverbial coffin that is Mark Recchi's career. Today in the latest installment of Pens of the Past, we'll look back on the good years of Mark Recchi's tenure and end it on a more somber note.
You can't be a Penguins fan, hear someone mention the name of Mark Recchi and not bite your tongue. There's both good things and bad that can be said of Recchi, even more so when you consider his constant comings and goings around the team.
Let's start at the beginning.
In 1988 Recchi made his debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins but was far from playing at the level in which the team needed him, scoring only 1G and 1A in 15 games. After a return to the IHL Muskegon Lumberjacks for the remainder of the season, Recchi came back stronger than ever and vied for a more permanent presence in Pittsburgh in 1989. This would officially mark the beginning of Recchi's NHL career.
Recchi was on board just in time for the Penguins first Cup win in 1991, but shipped out 58 games into what would ultimately turn into a second-straight championship for Pittsburgh. Recchi landed in Philly to play alongside the likes of one Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg.
Oddly enough, after a trade that sent Recchi to Montreal in 1994. Recchi went back to Philly for a second stint in 1998. Yet his numbers hardly matched up to Recchi's career-high 123 point season in 1992. By 2005, in the post-lockout NHL, Recchi returned to Pittsburgh.
As many Penguins fans know, these were not the bright days of the franchise. John LeClair, Mark Recchi and Mario Lemieux made for the core of experience with an otherwise young Pittsburgh franchise. In efforts to cash in the season, perhaps even free up some cap space and make a run for the #1 pick in the draft, Pittsburgh shipped the Recchin Ball out to Carolina with less than 20 games remaining in the season. As luck would have it, Recchi landed yet another championship with the Carolina Hurricanes.
But there was still some love for Pittsburgh, and in 2006 Recchi came back to the team for a full 82-game season. His 24-44, 68 point performance was hardly worthy of acclaim. However on January 26, 2007, Recchi notched his 500th goal in the black and gold. Some would say his career came full circle.
But this was hardly the end for Recchi's career, but 19 games into the 2007 season would say otherwise for his tenure in Pittsburgh. Released from the team in late October, Recchi was faced with one of the more insulting treatments of any veterans. Unclaimed off waivers, it seemed as if Recchi was going to spend some time with the WBS Penguins as part of what may have been a permanent rehabilitation stint. Before he could even suit up for the minors, Recchi was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers.
Two weeks later, Recchi sought vengeance on his former team with the game-winning goal in a shootout.
Talk about payback...
As the upcoming 2008-2009 season slowly approaches its start, the Penguins can expect to go up against the likes of Mark Recchi once again. This season, alongside fellow former Penguins Gary Roberts, Adam Hall, Ryan Malone and Mike Ouellet, Recchi and the Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Penguins for the first time on December 23. For those who don't think Recchi will play with a chip on his shoulder, just reference the picture above...