Mark Recchi

Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

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Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

Flyers president Paul Holmgren called it the “highest honor in franchise history.”

And it’s certainly a very exclusive club.

Eric Lindros last Thursday became just the sixth player in over 50 seasons of Flyers hockey to have his number retired by the organization, although there are actually eight numbers that will never be worn again.

The Flyers removed Pelle Lindbergh’s No. 31 out of circulation shortly after his death in 1985, and the NHL officially retired Wayne Gretzky’s 99 league-wide amongst its member organizations in 2000.

But with the recent retirement of No. 88, Flyers fans may not see another name and number raised to the rafters in a very long time.

Unless.

Unless the organization makes strong consideration for the guy who wore No. 8, Mark Recchi.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of the Recchi argument.

Hockey Hall of Fame
Recchi has already cleared the tallest obstacle — induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which now seems to be a franchise prerequisite that started with Bill Barber. Barber’s No. 7 was raised to the Spectrum rafters three weeks after his Hall of Fame induction in 1990.

Mark Howe followed suit as the Flyers staged his No. 2 retirement ceremony in March 2012 — four months following his HHOF induction in 2011, and now Lindros.

Recchi was enshrined in 2017 along with Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Dave Andreychuk, plus a few others.

A productive 10-year Flyers career
Recchi’s career spanned 1,652 games, or more than twice the length of Lindros’ NHL career. While he didn’t play the majority of his lengthy career in Philadelphia, Recchi played more games (602) with the Flyers than any other team by a considerable margin. Recchi’s next longest tenure was 389 games with Pittsburgh.

In terms of games played in Philadelphia, Recchi ranks 18th in franchise history, having played more games than Lindros (482) and even Howe (594). Along with Bob Clarke and Barber, Recchi is the only other Hall of Famer to play 600 games with the Flyers' organization.

Recchi also put up some massive numbers, scoring 232 goals and 627 points — one of five players (with at least 400 games played) who averaged a point per game. Lindros is the gold standard for the orange and black with 1.36 points per game. Recchi’s 1.04 clip trails only Tim Kerr, Brian Propp and Clarke, and is actually better than Barber’s 0.98 points per game average.

Recchi currently holds the franchise record for most points in a single season with 123, a record that has stood for 25 years, and along with Clarke, they’re the only two players in franchise history with multiple 100-point seasons.

Flyers Hall of Fame
Despite the previously mentioned accomplishments, Recchi awaits the Flyers Hall of Fame — a group that includes 20 players along with five coaches and executives.

Hall of Fame induction is voted upon by a combination of media members and team officials. Since Recchi was actively playing until his retirement after the 2010-11 season, his name hasn’t been much of a consideration. That should change moving forward.

With Claude Giroux recently passing Recchi for eighth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list, it should be noted Recchi still has more points than any player currently eligible for the Flyers HOF.

Postseason accomplishments
Here’s where the case for Recchi gets a little murky. With 36 career playoff points in 65 postseason games, Recchi ranks just 25th in franchise history. However, that total is still three points better than Gary Dornhoefer's playoff totals.

Recchi’s most productive playoff run came in 2000 when the Flyers reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final before losing a 2-1 elimination game to the Devils. Recchi scored 18 points in 18 postseason games that year.

However, Recchi’s signature playoff moment with the Flyers came in triple-overtime of Game 4 of the 2003 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That game-winning goal evened the series at 2-2, as the Flyers eventually took down the Leafs in seven games.

However, Recchi will always be remembered for winning three Stanley Cup championships with three different organizations: Penguins in 1991, Hurricanes in 2006 and the Bruins in 2011 at the age of 42.

The verdict
Curiously, for a player who scored 577 career goals spanning four decades, Recchi was selected to just one All-Star team in his 22-year career (1992 with the Penguins). He never played the majority of his career with one team, but his time spent in Philadelphia was the longest — 602 of 1,652 games (36 percent).

Recchi is certainly Flyers Hall of Fame-worthy, and if consideration is given to the overall greatness of No. 8, he very well should be the seventh player to have his number retired.

Former Flyers forward Mark Recchi elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Former Flyers forward Mark Recchi elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Mark Recchi was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday after waiting through three years of eligibility.

He will join Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Clare Drake and Jeremy Jacobs in the Hall of Fame's class of 2017.

And with his pending induction in mind, what can you say about the illustrious career of Recchi that hasn’t already been stated?

Began his career in Pittsburgh and wins a Stanley Cup in his third year?

Gets traded to the Flyers for Rick Tocchet, and proceeds to play in Philadelphia for a few years.

Goes to Montreal, comes back to the Flyers, and twice has long runs here before heading to Carolina where he’s a pivotal player for Peter Laviolette’s Cup-winning Hurricanes.

Finally, he finishes off his career in Boston where he wins his third Cup, ironically, the year after his Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to Laviolette’s Flyers in the playoffs.

Only seven players have ever won three Cups with three different teams.

Oh, did we mention he has a ring in Penguins management from 2016 as a player development coach and will get another ring this fall after the Pens' second consecutive Cup? Five rings!

He also was promoted this month to director of player development.

Recchi’s longevity, desire and ability to play at a consistently high level wherever he went is a major reason why he is entering the Hall of Fame.

He should have been voted in last year with Eric Lindros.

“I can’t thank the Selection Committee enough for this recognition,” Recchi said in a statement. “It’s an incredible feeling and the icing on the cake after 22 years of playing the game.”

The stocky, 5-foot-10, 195-pound right wing from Kamloops, B.C., played 1,652 NHL games, scored 577 goals and amassed 1,533 points during a brilliant 22-year career.

“When Mark Recchi walked into a dressing room, I knew as a teammate, I was getting a highly competitive, high-character, extremely generous and passionate person,” said Tocchet, who picked up his second Cup recently as an assistant coach with Mike Sullivan’s Penguins.

Tocchet and Recchi were Flyers teammates for three seasons.

Recchi spent a total of 10 years in Flyers orange and black where he was a point-a-game player – 627 points in 602 games.

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers, I am very pleased to hear the news that Mark Recchi will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Flyers President Paul Holmgren. “Mark was an important member of the Flyers organization and contributed to much of our success during both his tenures with the club, which included two trips to the Conference Finals. He continues to hold the club’s record for most points in a single season and was a very dedicated member of our team. He was an outstanding player and this honor is well deserved.”

“Mark was a great team guy and displayed leadership,” said another former teammate, Craig Berube. “A very good passer with the puck and very smart on the ice.”

Recchi, now 49-years-old, averaged nearly 20 minutes a night ice time his entire career, too.

“His leadership was valuable to the teams he won Stanley Cups with,” said Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who traded for Recchi at the deadline in Carolina in 2006.

“Mark played well both on offense and defense in all situations.”

Ken Hitchcock coached Recchi in Kamloops and in Philadelphia. Hitchcock will tell you his 2003-04 Flyers might have been the greatest team he ever coached in the NHL that didn’t win a Cup.

“Winning follows Mark,” Hitchcock said at the NHL draft this weekend. “He was a very competitive player when it mattered most. He really adjusted his game and his roles on teams. Mark won at every level and that’s not an accident.”

Recchi’s selection completes a perfect legacy – an impact player wherever he went and one who won multiple Cups.

“A real champion,” Rutherford said.