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.