David Krejci is a soft-spoken man that can sometimes scramble looking for the precise word hes looking for in English, his second language. But that shouldnt be misunderstood for shyness or an unwillingness to be candid, and his recent comments to a Czech Republic media outlet prove that entirely.
A frustrated-sounding Krejci took issue with NHL commissioner Gary Bettmans 8 million salary and says that he treats players "like animals" according to a Google translation of the article.
"It's weird," Krejci said when asked about the current state of negotiations. "Our Association gives owners of three proposals, and they swept aside for fifteen minutes. I do not have anything to say. Bettman took during the last lockout 3.5 million in salary and now it's at eight million."
The Bruins center, who is starring for HC Pardubice as a point-per-game player in the Czech League during the lockout, said he believes that Bettman and by proxy the 30 NHL owners are the only ones that truly want the NHL lockout. Its a simplistic view of the situation, of course, but its also what many of the 700 plus NHLPA membership believes now that nearly a month of the regular season has already been cancelled.
"Bettman does what he wants," Krejci said. "We want to play, we're the ones who are doing the show in the NHL. But Bettman thinks it makes him. It is unfortunate that the NHL have such a guy. It's a shame for the entire hockey world. He treats us like animals. Its really a shame that he is not at the forefront."
It should be noted that Krejci is about to start a five-year, 15 million contract extension this season, and has done pretty well financially during his NHL days.
The comments are actually reminiscent of a conversation this humble hockey writer had with Krejci a few years ago when he said that his team would "chase Colin Campbell out of the room" if he attempted to give them a pre-game warning prior to the "Revenge Game" against the Penguins. That game, of course, followed Matt Cookes downright evil blindside heat shot on Marc Savard that has effectively ended the centers career.
Its not surprising that Krejci came up with the "animals" comment after Detroit Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano made waves after calling the centers linemate, and good friend, Milan Lucic part of the league's cattle in a controversial interview that ultimately earned the NHL exec a 250,000 fine. Devellano meant it as a metaphor for the NHL owners as The Ranch and the players, coaches and executives as the cattle, but the specific mention of Lucics name in the interview privately set off a number of the Boston players.
But it also appears most NHL players dont need much provocation to lob verbal bombs at the league as all games have been cancelled through Nov. 1, and theres little progress toward a deal to start the season on Nov. 2.