Upset Krejci knows he has work to do next season

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Upset Krejci knows he has work to do next season

David Krejci knows hes got some work to do over the summer, and that was hammered home when the Czech Republic center struggled during the playoffs.

Krejci and Milan Lucic became the poster boys for Bostons first round exit, and the 26-year-old center struggled mightily for the first time in the postseason during his NHL career.

In the previous two playoffs Krejci has 31 points in 34 games and the center led the Bruins with 12 goals during their run to the Stanley Cup, but the center uttered the words panic and frustration more than once while being held to one goal and three points in seven games against the Washington Capitals.

"You think a lot about one goal that could have made a difference. Especially when you go home and you go to sleep at night, said Krejci. Its still fresh. Its still in your head. There are so many mixed emotions going on.

I dont want to say something Ill regret, so Im going to think about it a little more and think about what I can do better. There will be a lot of work going into next season. We probably didnt play the same way that we did the season before, and we didnt get the breaks either. If I were to look at things that I could have done better, it would be to get off to a better start in the playoffs.

Krejci wouldnt elaborate on what exactly was eating at him as the playoffs concluded, but its fair to say it probably played into a season of extreme highs and lows with the Bruins.

Krejci set a new career-high in goals and signed a lucrative contract extension that will pay him more than 5 million per season, but there were also low points that balanced out the highs.

The Washington defensemen pairing of Karl Alzner and John Carlson did an effective job of bottling up the Krejci, Lucic and Tyler Seguin forward line through the playoff series. For a guy that prides himself on coming up big in the playoffs even there is some coasting during the regular season, the magic didnt happen for Krejci or the Bruins.

Missing Nathan Horton in the playoffs clearly had something to do with the lines overall struggles, but it was more than that.

There wasnt enough finish when Krejci had the puck around the net, and he wasnt paying the price in front of Braden Holtby nearly enough. Perhaps it should have been a sign it wasnt going to be Krejcis year when the 120-pound piece of plexi-glass fell on his head after Boston took Game 1 at TD Garden.

My regular season was good. The playoffs were tough for a lot of us. We couldnt break them. They played good defense and they had a goaltender that wed never seen before, said Krejci. Its too soon to tell what went wrong and what I could do better.

There are so many people that just sit on their couch and they would be way better players if they actually played the game. Its not that easy. Thats why we dont read that many papers or listen to many comments about what other people have to say. We know we want to win. We try to do everything we can. Sometimes we didnt have the legs. Sometimes we couldnt put the puck in the net. But we always tried our best. Thats all we had this year, I guess.

It probably wasnt a shock coming off a regular season where Krejci was a minus player for the first time since his rookie NHL season, and spent time centering the third line for the first time in his career. He did set a career-high with 23 goals scored and topped 60 points for the third time in the last four years, but once again couldnt do enough to turn around a Bruins power play thats turned into a team weakness.

But Krejci also acknowledged that he needs to win back the confidence of the coaching staff after a regular season that had a few too many pot holes along the way.

For a guy that led the NHL with a plus-37 just three seasons ago, Krejci is a long way away from that player now.

I hadnt been a minus player since my first year in the league. I want to get back the confidence of the coaches to put me into key situations, said Krejci. When you are in the minus the coaches will overlook you to go out there and take a big face-off. I know Bergeron is our go-to guy all the time.

If its not him then there are two other forwards too, you know? I remember I used to be one of those forwards last year, so I definitely want that back. It basically starts with the plusminus this year. I dont want to just be a plus player, but I want to be in double-digits next year.

Beyond that Krejci was keeping to himself what needs to be done for his overall game heading into next season. Theres little doubt he wants to get back to the cerebral, play-making center that paid close attention to defensive detail, and appeared to be on the fast track to becoming the teams No. 1 center for the next 10 years.

But No. 46 was keeping things close to the vest before he left for Europe and a place on the Czech Republics National Team taking part in the World Championships.

I know what I should do and I know what I think happened this year. There are some things I dont want to comment on that Im not really happy about, said Krejci. I dont want to say something I regret. Im still a little upset about some stuff that happened. I dont want to comment and get in trouble or anything.

Perhaps a few hurt feelings for Krejci might be the best thing to light his fire heading into a show-it-to-me season with the Bruins next year.

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.