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.