(Photo Credit: Ben Noons/NewYorkTimes)

By: Mike Sullivan | Follow me on Twitter @_MikeSullivan

Is there a more loveable team in Boston Bruins history than the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion squad? I don’t think so. There were plenty of guys in that locker room who were crucial to leading that team to a Stanley Cup Championship, but one guy who became loved in Boston so quickly was none other than Mark Recchi.

The former fourth-round Pittsburgh Penguin draft pick led quite the career. He spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and of course, the Boston Bruins.

Mark Recchi had a phenomenal NHL career. An elite-level point producer mixed with a bit of two-way forward would help lead his teams to mightily successful seasons. The British Columbia native played a total of 1,652 games in the NHL, compiling 577 goals and 956 assists for a grand total of 1,533 points. His best season came in 1992-1993 with the Philadelphia Flyers when he amassed a whopping 123 points scoring 53 goals and recording 73 assists.

Recchi joined the Bruins organization in the 2008-2009 season through a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The trade involved Tampa Bay acquiring Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums in exchange for Mark Recchi and a 2nd round pick being Alex Petrovic. A swap that worked out well for Boston but not so much for Tampa Bay.

During his three seasons in Boston, Recchi helped lead a group of young, inexperienced (at the time) talent to a hockey powerhouse. It would be unfair to say guys like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic didn’t learn underneath the wings of Mark Recchi. During his 180 games with Boston, Recchi was able to amass 42 goals and 65 assists as an aging veteran. Very impressive. You can see why some of the core players who are, let’s face it, at the very tail ends of their careers benefited from guys like Mark Recchi are doing so well. Players like Patrice Bergeron most definitely learned a thing or two about how to play as a veteran leader, and Bergeron does it better than most in the league. Mark Recchi did more for this franchise than just produce points.

His play would help lead a Boston Bruins franchise to its first Stanley Cup since the great Boston Bruins team of 1972. During that 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run, Recchi seemed to find that elusive third gear. Again, his play would help define a group destined for a Stanley Cup victory.

In the 25 games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was able to rattle off 14 points and be a hound in the defensive zone. For the little amount of time that Mark Recchi spent in Boston, he sure knew how to leave a lasting impression. When thinking of that 2011 run, his name would undoubtedly be one of the first to come up. 28 days to go, folks. Buckle up and get ready for the ride.