Krejci will go to Czech Republic if lengthy NHL lockout

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Krejci will go to Czech Republic if lengthy NHL lockout

WILMINGTON, Mass. David Krejci is still hoping things will be worked out with the NHL, but hes also made his mind up that hes going home if theres no season.

The Bruins center indicated to CSNNE.com on Wednesday that hes got offers from at least two Czech Republic teams, and hell be following up on them if the NHL is headed for a lengthy lockout. Krejci wouldnt say which teams have expressed interest, but theres no hometown team hed play for. None of the top-tier teams are closer than a 90-minute drive away from his hometown of Sternbrek.

The Bs center never played in the highest Czech Republic league before leaving his home country for a tour of duty with Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior League, and he had always dreamed of playing in front of his friends and family.

He just didnt think the opportunity would come this quickly.

It will be nice, but not at this time. I always thought Id go back to Czech to end my career. I never thought it would be when I was 26 years old," Krejci said. "A few teams have already contacted me from the Czech Republic. I would definitely go there. I wouldnt go to any other countries. If theyre going to say theres a lockout on Saturday, Im not going to leave on Sunday or Monday. I havent given any Czech teams my word yet. My first priority is here, but then Ill start making some decisions after that. There are so many things that go into picking a team.

The Czech Republic hockey season does begin this week, so Krejci could decide to leave Boston over the next few weeks if theres little progress being made between the NHL and the NHLPA.

Ill make a decision thats best for me and my career. Im not going to rush. Im going to take my time. I still believe that theres time for a new deal on a CBA, said Krejci. Some guys from Czech havent even come to the US or Canada and theyre waiting to see if theres going to be a lockout.

Krejci, who finished with 23 goals and 62 points last season in an up-and-down year for the Bruins, said his No. 1 wish was to be playing in Boston for the Bruins as soon as possible. He also indicated he wouldnt be making any decisions based on what where his Czech friends might decide to play this season. Instead it will be about realizing something he always hoped would happen when he left home as a teenager nearly 10 years ago. Krejci got a taste ofplaying in his home countrywhen the Bruins visited Prague to open the NHL season in 2010-11, and he may be getting much more than that this time around.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.