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.

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.