When the Pittsburgh Penguins cleaned house on head coach Mike Sullivan's coaching staff this offseason, they elected to not bring back franchise icon Mark Recchi. The 52 year old Recchi had behind the bench with Sullivan and company for the past three seasons as an assistant coach, but with another disappointing playoff performance the team elected to clean house around Sullivan and either dismissed or simply walked away from Sullivan's entire staff including Recchi.
No fear though because Recchi is back in the game, having signed a new contract with the New Jersey Devils to serve as an assistant coach to newly hired head coach Lindy Ruff.
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"We are extremely excited to add Mark to our coaching staff, where his experience as a player, coach, and in development will be invaluable," said general manager Tom Fitzgerald. "His work with the power play and managing personnel in Pittsburgh are skills that will benefit our group moving forward. Mark's leadership, communication abilities, patience, and presence will be integral for the growth of our young core."
It's expected that Recchi will be responsible for running the Devils' powerplay, as he was in Pittsburgh. In three seasons with the Penguins, Recchi coached the team to a an incredible 26.2% powerplay success rate, the best in the NHL. While the Devils don't have the luxury of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their powerplay, it'll be interesting to see what Recchi can do with players like Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban.
For those not old enough know Recchi from his playing days, his incredible 22-year playing career included 1,652 games (sixth all-time), 577 goals (21st), 956 assists (5th), 1,533 points (12th), seven All-Star Games (1997 MVP) and three Stanley Cup Championships. In 189 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he scored 61 goals and 86 assists for 147 points. He is probably best remembered for his days with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he had a long career with that included stints with the Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1991, the Hurricanes in 2006 and the Bruins in 2011.