Boston Bruins

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.

Krug, Forbacka Karlsson suffer upper body injuries vs. Red Wings

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Krug, Forbacka Karlsson suffer upper body injuries vs. Red Wings

BOSTON – The Bruins ended Tuesday night’s preseason home date with another feel-good victory over the Red Wings, but it may have come at a cost.

Both Torey Krug and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson were injured in the second period of the B’s 4-2 win over the Red Wings at TD Garden, and didn’t return to the game. Krug was hit in the face with a puck in the defensive zone during the second period, and quickly exited the ice with Bruins trainer Don DelNegro after the impact of the puck hitting his face initially took his feet out from under him.  

“[Krug] clearly didn’t finish the game, and took a shot up in the facial area,” said Bruce Cassidy of Krug, who had a couple of shots on net in 9:10 of ice time while largely playing with Charlie McAvoy in an offensive-minded pairing. “We’ll probably have an update tomorrow.”

Forbacka Karlsson took a hard tumble into the end boards in the game’s middle period, and never returned after serving up the primary assist on Danton Heinen’s goal earlier in that very same period. JFK tried to return to Tuesday night’s win over the Red Wings, according to Cassidy, but was kept out of the game with an upper body injury that has his status as questionable moving forward.

“He went into the boards late in the second. He’s day-to-day, upper body. I think wanted to – he did come back and try [to return to the game],” said Cassidy of JFK, who put up an assist and a plus-1 rating in 8:37 of ice time before leaving the game. “I don’t think it’s serious, but I can’t speculate. We’ll get another update tomorrow. It didn’t look good, but I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked. We’ll know more [about JFK] tomorrow.”

It certainly sounds like both Krug and JFK could miss a day or two of practice moving forward after the injury wear-and-tear of preseason action, but the hope is that the Black and Gold won’t be missing a couple of key performers for anything more than that.  

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Talking Points: Austin Czarnik puts on a show vs. Red Wings

Talking Points: Austin Czarnik puts on a show vs. Red Wings

GOLD STAR: Austin Czarnik once again showed that he can really put on a show during training camp after winning an NHL job last season based on his strong preseason. Czarnik finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-1 rating in 15:15 of ice time, created a penalty shot situation solely based on his skating speed and perfectly executed a 3-on-1 late in the third period while feeding a one-timer dish to Teddy Purcell for the insurance marker. Czarnik tied David Pastrnak with a team-high four shots on net for the night, and won 8-of-15 draws for the Bruins while manning his natural center position. Czarnik showed once again that he can play effectively when he’s motoring at a high pace and playing aggressive hockey, a couple of things he didn’t always do with the Bruins once the routine of the NHL regular season settled in last year.

BLACK EYE: Brandon Carlo didn’t have a particularly terrible night, but he did end up as the only Bruins player with a negative plus/minus. Carlo was on the ice for both goals scored by Detroit, and otherwise didn’t really factor into the game while clocking in a solid 17:48 of ice time. His only other major contribution was an interference call halfway through the first period that put the Wings on the power play. Carlo was playing without his usual partner, Zdeno Chara, of course, and one of the remaining questions about the 21-year-old D-man is exactly how good he can be as a shutdown defenseman when he doesn’t have the big captain on his left side. Clearly, it was a good night overall for the B’s, but Carlo was far from his best in his preseason debut.

TURNING POINT: Nobody would have blamed the Bruins if they were a little frustrated after outshooting the Red Wings by a 13-8 margin, and not seeing any points up on the board. Instead of getting frustrated they kept working and finally busted through with a pair of goals within 90 seconds of each other in the second frame. Ryan Fitzgerald finished off the first chance off a nice dish from Jakub Zboril, and Danton Heinen followed by banging home a backdoor dish from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson across the ice. The two goals from two of Boston’s young forward group pushed the B’s out to a lead that they would never relinquish against Detroit.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jakub Zboril probably hasn’t received some of the fanfare of the other first-round picks in Bruins camp, but the skilled, improving D-man played an excellent first preseason game for the Black and Gold. It was Zboril’s one-man rush from his defense position that helped set up his creative dish to a wide-open Ryan Fitzgerald for Boston’s first goal, and he followed that up with 19:12 of mostly solid ice time. Zboril finished with the assist and a plus-2 rating along with a shot on net and a registered hit while also playing a special teams role on both the power play and the penalty kill. Zboril is still working on the polish to his game that will eventually make him an effective pro, but he was noticeable in a good way in his first preseason action of the season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the team-leading number of shot attempts for David Pastrnak in his first action of the preseason while skating with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Who is hard on the puck? Who is winning pucks? Who can keep their pace up? I think [the young forwards] are all capable of making plays, the young skilled guys. You can probably list seven or eight that have talent and could make NHL plays.” – Bruce Cassidy, on what he’s looking for out of B’s forward prospects that want to win NHL jobs.