While Bruins veteran Mark Recchi still believes there is a chance he can add another Stanley Cup — or at least a long playoff run — to his resume this spring, he made sure he didn't pass up a chance at another memorable highlight.
On Wednesday, Recchi returned to his native Kamloops, British Columbia, to carry the Olympic torch and use it to light the Community Cauldron before an estimated 12,000 people at local Hillside Stadium.
On Friday, Recchi will play game No. 1,542 of a storied career that will surely be capped with a Hall of Fame induction whenever the soon-to-be 42-year-old finally retires. He has won two Stanley Cups and has played in three World Championships and the 1998 Olympics.
But carrying the Olympic torch was something both new and incredibly special.
"That was amazing man," Recchi told NESN.com Thursday afternoon on his way from Toronto to Buffalo to meet his team for Friday night's big tilt against the division-leading Sabres. "I've done a lot and have experienced so much, but that was right up there with the two Stanley Cups. The only thing greater than that and the Cups was the birth of my kids."
Recchi has a street named after him in Kamloops and is a local legend there, but he was still humbled by the turnout for this special event.
"You know, it meant a lot to me that they came out in the cold and showed their pride and gratitude," Recchi said. "I always love going home and I'm so honored that they asked me to do it, and there was no way I was passing it up."
As he drove toward Buffalo, Recchi said that he's already storing away the excitement and memory of Wednesday because he and his Bruins teammates need to get back to business. They know it's time to turn things around.
"I think this week was good for everyone and we got to clear our heads and focus, [but] now it's time get back at it and get this thing turned around," he said. "I am not using injuries as an excuse, but I'm telling you, this isn't the team we are and who we are.
"We're going to turn this thing around," he continued. "I really believe that. I signed here because I believe in this team. It's been a tough year, but there's still time to try and make something of this."
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