Kukla's Korner

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Recchi- 1st Star Talks

Mark Recchi participated in a tele-conference today.

Q. Good. Thanks for taking the time. Mark, I know we’ll all want to talk about the Penguins and how well they’re doing this year. But I’m looking here at 1313 points in 1304 games. You’re one of the few NHL players who, over a long career, have produced at better than a point a game. Can you talk about at age 39 your satisfaction with a career that includes a couple of Stanley Cups and a record of steady production?
MARK RECCHI: Yes, it’s been pretty awesome. And I have to thank Dave for telling everybody my age. I was trying to hide that. It’s obviously been great. Winning in ‘91 and getting an opportunity with Carolina last year to win. And that’s what keeps me going. I look at our team right now and I don’t see—I see a contender in the not too far distance here. That’s what I play for. Ultimately that’s what we all play for. You get a taste of it and you want to keep going and. I’d like to take another run at it again.

Q. Mark, congratulations on 500 goals.
MARK RECCHI: Thank you.

Q. I want to ask you, a 23-point difference this year compared to last year, 23 points ahead of last year’s pace. What’s the difference between the Penguins of this season and the Penguins of last season.
MARK RECCHI: Well, I think one thing we’ve got a little bit more depth, but I think the biggest thing is the attitude right from the training camp. I think it was terrific. I think the guys came in there very unhappy about the way things went last year, and, you know, I think our training camp was great. We just kind of built from there.
And obviously when you get skill level like Malkin and Jordan Staal and obviously Sid is a year older and Whitney is a year older and obviously Fleury, the pieces are there. These guys are winners. They want to win and they have a great attitude of coming to the rink every day and working and trying to get better. And I just think that’s the biggest reason why I think we’ve continued to get better here.

Q. Mark, we talked a little bit about what’s good about the team this year. So obviously a young team. Pitfalls could be in front of you. What are the things you’re telling the younger players that coming down the stretch they maybe have never seen before and you feel it’s necessary to talk about?
MARK RECCHI: We’ve talked about being more consistent. I think that’s the biggest thing we’ve been relaying is to get more consistent, get rest. You know, this is definitely going to get tough for the last 34 games we’ve got. It’s going to be tougher every night. We are fighting for a playoff spot.
It’s not like there’s three or four teams out of it in our division. I mean there’s 13 or 14 teams fighting for a playoff spot, and tonight is just going to be a playoff game and you’re not going to have anybody that’s really going to quit.
So I think that’s the biggest message we can send right now.

Q. Tell me a little bit about Coach Therrien. He’s only been in there a couple of years. And obviously he’s got some better talent to work with than in past years, but he’s had a real effect. I’d like you to describe how he addresses your team and how you guys look at him.
MARK RECCHI: He’s been terrific all year. And I think he’s—from last year to this year I think he’s learned a tremendous amount about the league. He was in Montreal, and I think he learned a lot there and coming back in last year and getting his feet back wet back in it. He’s been terrific from day one. And he’s been great at handling the message and he’s been really good about communicating with the leaders on the team about what he expects. And obviously we’ve got a responsibility as well. So I think he’s done a great job. He teaches well. Great systems. And obviously he prides—he really rewards people that compete every night. And he holds people accountable if you don’t.
So it’s pretty neat.

Q. Talk a bit about some of the things maybe that you brought over from your run with Carolina last year. Obviously a team like this, very young, a lot of guys coming up, haven’t had the experience of the playoff pressure cooker. Given your experience in playoffs and especially last year, what are some of the things that you’ve brought over to the players and especially some of the younger guys like Sydney?
MARK RECCHI: Well, I think the biggest thing is the way they practice in Carolina. They practice like they were trying to get better every day and they were trying to work on stuff. And the biggest thing for me was to lead that by example. To be honest with you, it hasn’t been that hard with these young guys, especially obviously Sidney. He has a great work ethic and wants to get better every day.
When you have that, everybody falls into place and everybody sees that and they have that tempo in practice. And when we don’t have good tempos and don’t have good work ethic we seem to fight it a little bit. And the guys are mature and realizing that. That’s the neat thing from coming from Carolina and seeing that and also being in Philly, you know obviously we had good teams there and how we practice and how hard we practice. You went on the ice knowing you were trying to get better.

Q. One final question: You’re 39 now. It’s been leaked. How are you feeling and is the team’s performance going to play any role in any decision you might make? I know it’s a little early. But you obviously have another decision to make. Your contract expires in July. Is how the team performs going to have any impact on decisions you make going forward into possibly coming back for another year?
MARK RECCHI: No. I obviously love what I see here. And I think this team is like I said not too far from being a contender. I’d like to be part of that again. And I think Ray Shero has done a terrific job of getting these young guys in here and letting them grow and he’s a smart guy and he’ll figure some things out.
So I’d definitely like to be a part of this. Obviously you never know come summertime whether the organization wants to go a different direction. But obviously I like it here and I like these young guys and I like where they’re going.
Hopefully I can be a part of this for another year or two.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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