Penguins place Recchi on waivers
A few weeks ago, Mark Recchi talked about how much fun he would have in retirement -- watching from the stands and enjoying a few beers as Sidney Crosby guided the Penguins to countless victories.
He could get that chance sooner than he or anybody associated with the Penguins would have imagined in September.
Recchi, 39, was placed on waivers Tuesday before the Penguins' traveled to Edmonton, where they will open a four-game road trip against the Oilers tonight.
If he is not claimed by noon today, it could mark the end of Recchi's career, which has spanned 19 seasons and included three stints and parts of seven years with the Penguins.
Recchi's history with the organization that drafted him 67th overall in 1988 and relationship with the city his family calls home are reasons Penguins general manager Ray Shero termed the events of yesterday "tough."
"Quite honestly, it was not pleasant for me," Shero said. "You are dealing with a veteran player that I personally have a lot of respect for.
"I believe this is as amicable as it can be."
Shero said he attempted to trade Recchi, who did not return phone calls.
However, with no takers for the third-leading scorer among active players, Shero said he, Recchi and the player's agent, Rich Curran, thought it "best to try something different."
Curran said Recchi had no plans to retire.
"There is no reason for him to retire because he can still play," Curran said.
Recchi appeared in 19 games this season. He scored two goals and recorded eight points, but was a healthy scratch in seven of the past eight games.
His last game with the Penguins was Nov. 17.
He did not dress against the Phoenix Coyotes at Mellon Arena on Monday, a night when fans were presented with bobblehead dolls in Recchi's likeness to commemorate his 500th-goal milestone from last season.
Recchi rates among the top scorers in Penguins' history with 154 goals and 385 points. In 1,357 games with the Penguins, Montreal, Philadelphia and Carolina, he has scored 510 goals and recorded 1,341 points.
The Penguins would be responsible for Recchi's salary if he does not land with another club. After finishing third on the team in scoring with 68 points in 82 games last season, Recchi re-signed with the Penguins during the summer for one year at a base salary of $1.75 million.
"He wanted to retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin," Shero said. "He did a great job for us last year. He did a good job with the young players. That played a huge part in bringing him back.
"The right intent was there."
Several clubs, most notably Columbus, had assigned scouts to Penguins' games over the past few weeks, presumably to see Recchi. However, fewer scouts were attending recent games when it became apparent Recchi was not going to play.
Shero said did not discuss a buyout with Recchi, but "would have that conversation" if Recchi is not claimed.
Shero said he wants to see Recchi find another NHL home.
That was not the case for former Penguins' left wing John LeClair, a close friend of Recchi that did not appear in another NHL contest after refusing a minor-league assignment by the Penguins last season.
LeClair was placed on waivers on Nov. 30, 2006. He cleared the next day, went through re-entry waivers and then refused assignment to the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
"I hope this is different," Shero said. "I hope Mark continues to play in the NHL. He is proud, competitive, and wants to play."
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