Finding a Lightning player to represent some of these numbers is a challenge. Such as number 8. There have been 12 players for the Lightning, including a rookie named Vincent Lecavalier to sport the Ocho, but none of them either kept it very long, stick around that long themselves or simply distinguish themselves while wearing it. Taking all these factors into account and knowing that somebody had to be selected, the honor fell to Mark Recchi. And what was it that set Recchi apart from the likes of say, Todd Warriner or Martin Cibak? Two things;
- I'm not sure if you've noticed but historically, the Lightning, under every ownership group they've ever had, have never been known for acquiring established "name" players. Under some owners, there were budgetary restrictions (self-imposed or otherwise). Others, it simply wasn't the way they wanted to build the team. As a result, it's really only happened a small handful of times, with Wendell Clark, Dino Ciccarelli, Dave Andreychuk, Nikolai Khabibulin and Simon Gagne standing out among those notable exceptions. Most of those players' prime years were behind them by the time they got to Tampa Bay but at least they were players casual fans had heard of before. Recchi fits right in there among that few.
- He played well while he was here and was one of the players brought in by the OK Hockey regime, a group that isn't likely to be shown a lot of love around here (at least not if I can help it), but a little bit of "credit where credit is due" never really hurt anyone, right?
Recchi came to the Lightning at the age of 39, after over 20 seasons in the NHL, spent primarily with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers with brief stops in Carolina and Atlanta along the way.He was a member of three Stanley Cup champion teams and was selected to seven All-Star teams, and was named MVP of the 1997 game. He only spent part of one season in Tampa Bay, 62 games in 2008-09, before being traded to the Boston Bruins. With the Lightning he tallied 13 goals and 32 assists. He still holds records for oldest player to notch five assists in a game and oldest player to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final game.
Today, Recchi is a conusltant with the Dallas Stars and a part-owner, along with Stars owner Tom Gaglardi as well as Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and Darryl Sydor, of the Western Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers.
(Other players to wear number 8 for the Lightning include Ken Hodge, Herb Raglan, Jason Ruff, Jamie Huscroft, Vincent Lecavalier, Michael Nylander, Todd Warriner, Martin Cibak, Matt Walker, Randy Jones and Mark Barberio)