Penguins Notebook: Recchi sent to minors in procedural move

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CALGARY, Alberta -- Hours before they played the Flames last night at the Saddledome, the Penguins assigned veteran winger Mark Recchi to their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minor-league club, a procedural move rather than a desire to have him play there.

The team is likely to recall Recchi as soon as today.

Once he is recalled, Recchi will have to clear re-entry waivers, and a team that claims him can sign him at half the rate of his $1.75 million contract.

Recchi, 39, who has more than 500 goals in the NHL and helped the Penguins win their first Stanley Cup in 1991, had become a regular as a healthy scratch after getting just two goals in 19 games.

The Penguins placed him on waivers Tuesday, but he was not claimed.

Eyeing a goal

There's not a lot that's more satisfying for a goaltender than to watch from his end as your teammates quickly erase a deficit in the third period and move ahead.

That's what Marc-Andre Fleury experienced Wednesday in the Penguins' 4-2 comeback victory at Edmonton.

Well, there's one thing Fleury might find just as cool, and that nearly happened Monday in the team's 3-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Late in the third period, Fleury moved out of the crease to his right and found himself with the puck and a clear path to the Coyotes' vacant net.

He smelled a goal.

"That was the first time I got to try to shoot," Fleury said.

"And we were two goals ahead. You don't want try it with one goal. It was the perfect time."

He didn't get the chance.

"Then [defenseman Darryl] Sydor came back and he took it," Fleury said.

He'll wait for the next chance.

"That's one of my dreams, to score a goal," he said.

Twenty years ago tomorrow, Philadelphia's Ron Hextall scored on a shot into the opposing net, a first in the NHL for a goaltender. It topped off a 5-2 win against Boston.

Billy Smith of the New York Islanders was the first NHL goaltender credited with scoring.

But his goal Nov. 28, 1979, came not from a direct shot but as a result of him being the last Islanders player to touch the puck before it wound up in an empty Colorado net.

Two years after his goal off a shot on net, Hextall became the first NHL player to score in a playoff game, April 11, 1989, against Washington.

The only four goaltenders since then who have scored on a shot in the NHL are Chris Osgood, Martin Brodeur, Jose Theodore (on a backhander) and Evgeni Nabokov.

Hextall and Brodeur, both deft stick-handlers, are the only NHL goaltenders with two goals and two of just nine goalies who have scored.

The others are Damian Rhodes, Mika Noronen and Chris Mason.

If Fleury gets another chance and makes good on it, he will be the first Penguins goaltender to score.

Routine change

Unhappy with his team's game Saturday in a 4-2 loss at Toronto -- the Penguins' only loss in their past six games after a 3-2 shootout victory last night against the host Calgary Flames -- coach Michel Therrien changed the game-day routine for the second day of back-to-back games.

"Usually we have a meeting at the hotel because we understand that rest is important, but we didn't like the way we played for two periods in Toronto, so we changed the program," Therrien said.

"We decided we're going to bring the guys to the rink and have the meeting at the rink and make the ice optional for the players who want to jump in."

The response yesterday was that 17 of the 22 players took advantage of the option to skate.

"They follow the leader," Therrien said, referring to captain Sidney Crosby, who was one of the first on the ice.Online

Last night's game between the Penguins and Flames did not finish in time for this edition. For complete results, go to post-gazette.com



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