CAMBRIDGE David Krejci was a full member of Bostons first lockout practice at Harvards Bright Arena on Monday morning, but he might not be in Boston much longer. After revealing to CSNNE.com last week that he was speaking with a pair of Czech League teams, a Czech news outlet called iDnes reported today that the Bruins center is close to a deal with HC Pardubice to play in his native country.
"I always thought Id go back to Czech to end my career. I never thought it would be when I was 26 years old," said Krejci to CSNNE.com last week while discussing his plans in the face of a long lockout. "A few teams have already contacted me from the Czech Republic. I would definitely go there. I wouldnt go to any other countries. There are so many things that go into picking a team."
Krejci said he was hoping to play relatively close to his hometown of Sternbrek, so his choice came down to Pardubice and Trinec in the Czech Extra League. According to Pardubice general manager Peter Hemsky, the Czech is simply working out the insurance policy for Bostons playmaking center.
Hemsky is expecting to recruit his son, Ales, while he is out of work with the Edmonton Oilers. The team is also expected to sign defenseman Michal Roszival along with Krejci and Hemsky as more NHL players begin flocking to Europe for paying gigs while the NHL and NHLPA hammer out a new deal.
Krejci, who finished with 23 goals and 62 points last season in an up-and-down year for the Bruins, indicated last week that his No. 1 wish was to be playing in Boston for the Bruins as soon as possible. But to play in the Czech Republic would be to realize something he always hoped would happen when he left home for the Quebec Major Junior League as a teenager nearly 10 years ago.
Krejci got a taste of playing in his home country when the Bruins visited Prague to open the NHL season in 2010-11, and he may be getting much more than that this time around.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.