Krejci answers critics who say he 'floats' during regular season

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Krejci answers critics who say he 'floats' during regular season

WILMINGTON, Mass. David Krejci wanted to make it very clear that hes much more comfortable playing on the ice than he is talking about himself.

Im not a talker guy like somebody else might be, admitted Krejci. I just go out there. I dont make the headlines with things that I say. I just want to go on the ice and show everybody. I know it wont be easy and there will be some bad games, but I just want to leave everything on the ice no matter what happens.

If I screw up on the ice or if the coach yells at me, I just have to get my head ready for the next shift.

The 26-year-old center has always been a soft-spoken, intelligent youngster from the Czech Republic thoroughly willing to speak his mind, and hes always been keenly aware of whats being said, written and rumored about him. So Krejci was understandably proud after scoring a career-high 23 goals last season, but he also weathered more criticism after finishing a career-worst minus-5 in 79 games. The playmaking center was always able to shake off some of the regular season criticisms by coming up big in the postseason, but last year all of that dried up for him after a giant pane of TD plexi-glass crashed on his head following Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

Krejci managed only a single goal and three points in the seven-game series loss to the Caps, and the Czech Republic center appeared alternately frustrated and exasperated throughout the series.

Thats a far cry from the player that put up 22 goals, 73 points and an NHL-best plus-37 during his first full year in the NHL in 2008-09.

It was a difficult season where he was demoted to the third line for the first time in his career, he was regularly criticized by coach Claude Julien as a player that could bring more to the table and it ended altogether too soon for a skater that lives for the playoffs.

But what bothered Krejci most of all when he had the chance to reflect on a season full of frustration?

It was the assertions that he floats or coasts through the regular season at times, and that he plays without the propel level of urgency too often when its not life or death in the postseason. Krejci said he heard those critics loud and clear last year, and his whole summer of work was built around proving them wrong.

Some of it stemmed from an interview last year where No. 46 said the regular season doesnt excite him like the playoffs do, but its always more about what the eye test says while watching Krejci play.

I try not to read too much during the season, but there are times when you watch or read things, said Krejci. Ive learned a lot about myself in the last couple of years. I tried to take those things and turn them into a positive, and I used them as motivation when I was working out this summer.

Sometimes you do interviews and you dont always say the smart things or things that you dont mean to. I remember that my name was being tossed around that I was a floater and that I dont play hard enough in all 82 games during the season . . . that I float during the season and then turn it on during the playoffs.

Some of those reports also included trade rumors of Krejci moving to Anaheim in exchange for Bobby Ryan or Phoenix in a swap for Keith Yandle as Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin could eventually slot into the top two center spots on the Bs depth chart. Those whispers certainly dont appear to be dying down anytime soon with the salary cap expected to go down, and Krejci now commanding more than 5 million per season as the teams highest paid forward (5.25 million) next season.

Obviously Krejci didnt like what he read and heard, and appears to have gained a few pounds of muscle while over the summer months working out in the Czech Republic.

Maybe something like that did happen, but if it did I dont always say the right things or say what I mean. I know what the organization thinks about me, but Ive heard my name tossed around in the newspapers with trade rumors, said Krejci. You read them saying lets trade for this guy because he doesnt float during the regular season just like Krejci does, so those things got me motivated for this year. I worked really hard this summer and hopefully it shows this season on the ice.

The best way for Krejci to silence the critics that havent enjoyed the hot-and-cold performances: consistency. In the months of October and February last season Krejci managed only three points and a minus-12 in 20 games, and essentially disappeared for close to two months of the season.

In the other five months Krejci scored 59 points and was a plus-7 in 59 games last season, and was exactly the kind of player people around the Bruins envisioned when the Czech Republic pivot finally reaches his considerable potential.

So Krejci knows whats been said about him, and knows what he was to do to quiet those accusers. Now its just a matter of going out and doing it once the season finally gets moving.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.