The Blue Jackets made a big alteration to their coaching staff on Monday, hiring veteran Mark Recchi as assistant coach. He’ll join head coach Pascal Vincent and fellow assistant Steve McCarthy behind the CBJ bench.
Recchi is a veteran of 1652 games played in the NHL, scoring 577 goals and 956 assists (1,533 points) in that time; while adding 1,033 minutes in penalties. He holds the single season points record for the Philadelphia Flyers, posting 123 points in the 1992/93 season – and he’s a five-time Stanley Cup winner; winning three as a player, and two as a development coach. Mark was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Jackets confirmed that Recchi was brought on to help with the team’s power-play, and we assume he’ll be running the forwards from behind the bench (leaving McCarthy to run the defensemen and the penalty kill). He’ll bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to a very young coaching staff, which are much-needed attributes for the Jackets.
Pascal Vincent will be coaching an NHL team for the first time in his career this season, so adding a guy who has been around for so long seems like a positive improvement for a team whose competitive core is really young. One thing that’s almost certain: the power-play can’t get much worse than it has been over the last few years. It’s a really low bar for Mark Recchi to try and step over, and hopefully he brings some success to that unit.
From a more personal standpoint it’s exciting. I saw Mark play in the NHL live, nearly 30 years ago. I remember him most as a Philadelphia Flyer, part of those rugged teams in the 90s that featured guys like Eric Lindros and John LeClair. My initial thought was that maybe Recchi can bring some of that fire and competitiveness to the dressing room, more attributes that could help this team get over the competitive hump.
Adding another assistant coach seemed like an important thing to get done before the season. By making this hiring, it seems the Jackets have finally closed the book on the Mike Babcock chapter of franchise history. Now it’s time to really move ahead with the pieces that are in place here.