[Editor's note: This blog is a part of a series of blogs in which Broad Street Buzz co-editor's Tom Foti and David Quackenbos debate a topic (in the future this series may include other writers). The first question they will debate is "Who will be the next Flyer inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Eric Lindros or Mark Recchi?" To see Tom Foti's case for Eric Lindros click here.]
Mark Recchi is one of the best players ever to put on a Flyers uniform. No. 8 was always one of my favorites (I wore the number 8 as a squirt in honor of Recchi) because of his phenomenal play and off ice maturity. Although Eric Lindros was a generational talent, I believe that Mark Recchi is more deserving of Hall of Fame honors. There is no doubt in my mind that Lindros will one day be in the hall, but Recchi has the hardware, the longevity/durability, and the stats to beat out Lindros.
Stanley Cups: Recchi – 3 Lindros – 0
Mark Recchi won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and the Boston Bruins in 2011. Recchi was a fantastic playoff performer, averaging .78 points per game in the postseason throughout his career. Success in the NHL is measured by winning and there is no question that Recchi was a winner. To go along with his three Stanley Cups he also went to the Eastern Conference Finals with Philadelphia is 2000 and 2004. Lindros took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997, but other than that he never got out of the second round. The bottom line is that Recchi won in the postseason for 2+ decades and won three Stanley Cups. Lindros had very few seasons with playoff dominance and won zero Stanley Cups.
Recchi: entered the NHL in 1988 – left in 2011. Games played: 1652 Reg./189 Post-season
Lindros: entered the NHL in 1992 – left in 2007. Games played: 760 Reg./53 Post-season
Part of what makes a Hall of Fame career is longevity. Yes, Eric Lindros was absolutely dominant for a time. He averaged 1.42 points-per-game during the regular seasons from 1993-1999. However, Recchi averaged .93 points-per-game over 24 regluar seasons! It is unfortunate that Lindros’ career was cut short by injuries, and I am sure that he would have been a great player for a long time. But the Hall of Fame is not based upon “what ifs?” Lindros never played a full 82 game season, while Recchi accomplished that feat eight times. Lindros only hit the 80 game mark once during his career (‘02-‘03) while Recchi hit that mark 13 times (’91-’94, ’95-’98, ’99-’00, ’01-’02, ’03-’04, ’06-’08, ’09-‘11). Mark Recchi played the game at a Hall of Fame caliber level for 24 years, not 8.
Recchi – 577/956/1533 (Regular Season) – 61/86/147 (Post-season)
Lindros – 372/493/865 (Regular Season) – 24/33/57 (Post-season)
Recchi scored more goals than Lindros and had more assists that Lindros. Granted, Recchi’s career points-per-game average (reg. season and playoffs) was .91 while Lindros’ was 1.14. However, the fact that they are that close and Recchi played more than twice as many games as Lindros speaks volumes to Recchi’s talent and skill. Even at 42/43 years of age Recchi was able to put up 48 points in 81 games (’10-’11). Although Lindros was dominant for a short period of time, Recchi’s amazing offensive talent was more reliable than that of Lindros.
I am not a Lindros hater. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame one day. However, Mark Recchi is the better candidate. Recchi has more Stanley Cups than Lindros, was more durable than Lindros, and has more impressive stats than Lindros. The fact that Recchi did what he did for over 20 years is simply amazing and he deserves to be the next Flyer inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.