Krejci 'missed the NHL', has moved on from last season


Krejci 'missed the NHL', has moved on from last season

David Krejci knows that last season ended on a bad note for him personally, and for the Boston Bruins as a team. The 26-year-old struggled in the playoffs after a plexi-glass frame dropped onto his head following Game One at TD Garden against the Washington Capitals, and was greeted with trade rumors with Phoenix or Anaheim during and after the NHL season had concluded.

But that was practically a lifetime ago now. The playmaking Czech center is ready to put all of that behind him headed into this year and start anew with a Bruins team thats returning nearly the entire cast that captured a Stanley Cup two years ago.

Last year is behind me now. Ive already played some games so Ive forgotten about it, said Krejci. I just want to have a good start to the season just like the rest of the team.

Everybody is going to be hungry in the NHL. Every team is going to be hungry, said Krejci, who finished with 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 24 games for HC Pardubice in the Czech Republic coming off a career-high 23 goals scored for the Bruins last year. Were just going to have to be hungrier than they will be. From what I saw today guys are hungry and excited, so hopefully we can get off to a good start and go from there.

The only positive for Krejci stemming from the NHL lockout was the ability to spend some extended time at home in the Czech Republic. Pardubice was more than an hour drive away from his hometown, but Krejci was able to spend Christmas and New Years with his family for the first time in 10 years.

That didnt take away the sting of missing NHL games, however.

I had never played in the Czech League before, so that was kind of nice. It was my first Christmas at home in like 10 years, so I spent it at home with my family, said Krejci. That was the biggest positive use of the whole situation. But I missed the NHL. When we were all kids we dreamed of playing in the NHL, so once you finally make it thats where you want to be. Im glad we got a deal done so we could finally play.

Krejci is expected to begin the season centering Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton on either side of him when the Bruins roll out the familiar forward lines that have served them so well over the last few years.

Lucic and Horton looked pretty good today. Im sure they kept themselves in good shape, said Krejci. Theyre fast skaters and they play a tough, northsouth game. Im going to have to try keeping up with them.

That comfort and chemistry between forward combos should breed instant success, and the short season could bring the best out in a big-game performer like Krejci.

But the playmaking pivot will have to continue chasing the game-to-game consistency hes been searching for during a successful NHL career that could still reach yet another level under the right circumstances.

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all.