Krejci expresses desire to stay in Boston after win

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Krejci expresses desire to stay in Boston after win

TORONTO Its only natural that the news of the Anaheim Ducks shopping talented winger Bobby Ryanwas met with excitement in just about every other NHL city. Its not every day that a 25-year-old power forward with 40-goal potential and a reasonable contract (5.1 million over the next three years) becomes available to the highest bidder.Alas, the firing of Anaheim's head coach Randy Carlyle in favor of Bruce Boudreau has likely ended the Ryan sweepstakes before they even got started.

When the Duckswere mullingRyan not being apart of the solution, it was expected a deal forthe forward could net the Ducksa dynamic top line center, a top-four defenseman and a first round pick as part of the return package.

So its only natural David Krejci be mentioned as part of a potential package deal for Ryan given that hes approaching restricted free agency, and given that the Bruins are stacked depth-wise at the center position. The B's playmaker has also been struggling a bit out of the gate this season, and Ryan's salary cap tag matched up favorably with the kind of money Krejci will be seeking in a contract moving forward.

So the Ducks would also likely havesoughtDougie Hamilton and a first round pick to round out the ransom for a winger thats potted 100 goals over the last three full seasons in Anaheim. That made it a non-starter for many around the Bruins -- this hockey writer included -- but there were other possibilities.

If they were to get involved perhaps the Bruins could talk Ryans price tag down to Johnny Boychuk or Adam McQuaid along with Krejci and the draft pick getting shipped to the Ducks for their young superstar.

But there is no concrete proof that Boston had everdipped their toes in on the Bobby Ryan sweepstakes. The New York Rangers weresaid to be the leaders in the clubhouse for the Ducks sniper, and Krejci finally snapped out of a weeks-long funk with a three-point effort in Bostons 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Krejci cleaned up Nathan Hortons net drive by popping in the rebound for Bostons second goal of the evening, and snapped a nine game goalless streak in the process that dated back to aNov. 7 winagainst the New York Islanders.

He then set up a pair of goals following his second period score, and equaled the number of points hed been able to muster in nine games leading up to Wednesday nights divisional battle with Toronto. The third period pass to Lucicin front of the night was classic No. 46 and showed that the playmaking pivot is still operating at a very high level when the mood strikes him.

Its one of the biggest keys to our line. When hes moving the puck with confidence and hes protecting it hes good. It seems like hes been a little frustrated this year, said Milan Lucic. But he didnt have that tonight, so hopefully hes getting some confidence as well.

We went into this game wanting to end the month right head into December."

Then Krejci spoke at length about building confidence and going on a run with linemates Lucic and Horton now that theyre feeling it offensively.

The playmaking center has admitted in recent days that hes heard some of the tradetalk surrounding him, and its only become louder in the moments following Anaheims management flirting with flippingRyan. So Krejci was aware of some of the rumors, and theres no telling whetherthe urgency that comes with tradewhispersreally spurred him onto a higher level of performance. Krejci is a player that seems to rely on motivation to push him into his highest level of play, and he looked like his motor was running Wednesday night.

One thing is certain: Krejci doesnt want to go to Anaheim or anywher else.He sounded more like somebody ready to cross his arms and refuse to budge from the Bruins should things haveprogressed with Anaheim on Ryan. The Czech Republic center was drafted by Boston, hes developed in his time with the Bruins and he wants to potentially win another Stanley Cup with his current set of teammates.It's good to hear, and it's something Krejci should want to protect with heightened play until he signs another deal with the B's.

I love the city. I love the team. Everybody really gets along well. We are winning, said Krejci when asked about the trade rumors. "I like to be on a winning team and I like to have a chance to win the Cup. This is the team, you know? I would like to have a chance to stay here.

There were some talk about me getting traded, but I didnt even know about it. I try to focus on my game and stay away from these things.

Did it seem curious that whispers and rumors start kicking up when the Bruins are in the middle of their best month of hockey in more than 40 years?

Its probably somebody starting a rumor and then other people getting involved. I dont really care, said Krejci. I really like this team right now and Im going to do everything I can to help them win.

Theres no denying that perhaps some of the trade chatter has served as a good motivational tool for Krejci going into big games against Toronto.But theres also nousedenying the homegrown centers intentions. Krejci knows he can continue building toward being a better player this season, and can almost taste another long Cup run despite the checkered start to his season.Krejci is staying for the time being, and that's exactly the way he wants it.

Bruins having 'very, very productive talks' with D-man Liles

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Bruins having 'very, very productive talks' with D-man Liles

The Bruins still hold high hopes for what free agency might bring them for a defenseman when the market opens Friday at noontime, but it also feels like Bruins GM Don Sweeney is under-promising while hoping to over-deliver. Either that or the Bruins really don’t have many good prospects at significantly improving their blue line group headed into next season.

For the first time Sweeney made a “defenseman-by-committee” reference during Thursday’s conference call to announce the four year contract extension for Torey Krug, and talked up positive contract talks with 35-year-old John-Michael Liles.

Yes, that’s the same Liles that was a minus-7 in 17 games with the Bruins after coming to Boston at the trade deadline for draft picks and Anthony Camara. One would expect it to be a one year deal at a very reduced rate along the lines of last year’s $2.75 million to bring Liles back in Boston if the Bruins can’t somehow land a bigger free agent fish like Jason Demers, or Brian Campbell.

There’s also the possibility of something shaking loose with Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler in trade discussions, but Liles was the only available defenseman that Sweeney addressed by name during his chat with reporters.

“We’ve talked to free agent candidates. I’ve mentioned John-Michael [Liles]; I think that we’ve had very, very productive talks there. We’re looking for balance; we’re looking for younger players to have an opportunity to emerge and grab a hold of that,” said Sweeney. “Whichever we can improve our team internally or externally, we’re going to continue to evaluate and pursue. The trade market … whether that materializes remains to be seen. And it’s not an easy process, nor is the free agency process.

“So we’re going to do the work to try and improve our team but it starts internally with our group. And our coaches are excited about what our young players are going to bring to the table.”

After signing Krug to a four year extension that will pay him $5.25 million per season and buying out Dennis Seidenberg’s contract, the Bruins still have $19 million to play with headed into Friday’s open of the free agent market. So the Bruins have the capital to be players on July 1 if they want to make a big splash.

It just remains to be seen whether the Bruins will be capable of making a big splash given the available players, and how many of the big named ones seem to be leaning toward NHL destinations other than the Black and Gold. 

Wyshynski: Eriksson is looking to really cash in

Wyshynski: Eriksson is looking to really cash in

Greg Wyshynski joins Michel Felger on Sports Tonight to discuss the recent Boston Bruins moves and other potential landing spots for free agents Loui Eriksson and Milan Lucic.

Bruins view newly signed Krug as an emerging leader

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Bruins view newly signed Krug as an emerging leader

With Bruins defenseman Torey Krug in the fold for four more years, a Thursday afternoon conference call with the 25-year-old defenseman and GM Don Sweeney was about what the young puck-mover can accomplish over the next few years. With Krug coming off a four goal, 44-point season and offseason shoulder surgery, it will be a slow and steady progression to begin next season once he’s cleared to play.

What isn’t in question is Krug’s leadership, toughness and gritty attitude to go along with his considerable offensive skill set, and those all made the $21 million contract a no-brainer from the Black and Gold end of things.

“Torey’s got a very, very unique skill set that’s important to our hockey club. He’s had a very, very productive three years. His role this year and his time on ice, in all situations, increased significantly. He was able to shoulder much, much more responsibility in all parts of the game. As a young player who is invested in the Boston Bruins organization, he wants to win, he does things the right way every time he comes to the rink,” said Sweeney. “He wants to get better; he’s not satisfied. All the things you want out of a young player to identify with, which is something we also acknowledge, that Torey has really been identified as an emerging part of our core leadership group.

“I think he’ll help tremendously to help all of our young players that hope to fall in similar fashion with the success that he’s had up to this point. We have a lot of work to do in front of us and Torey’s going to help us get back to where we want to be in trying to win a Stanley Cup.”

Krug has averaged 10 goals and 41 points over his first three seasons in the NHL, and averaged a career-high 21:37 of ice time last season as a de facto No. 2 defenseman behind Zdeno Chara. It was a big season because Krug survived, and continued to put up points, as a legit top-4 defenseman in the NHL, but the 5-foot-9, 181-pounder also needed his shoulder repaired after his first season of heavy duty usage.

So it bears the question of whether Krug will stay in one piece with the heavy top-4 duty over the next four years. Whatever the answer is to that question, the puck-moving defenseman will be a leader, a feisty character on the ice and somebody that’s going to serve as a good professional role model for the flock of young players expected to come through in the next couple of seasons.

The Michigan boy couldn’t be happier to be a part of all of it in Boston for the next four years.

“I think [the leadership thing] has been something that was instilled in me in a young age, you know, coming from my father. It’s always been authentic. If anyone tries to force it then people see right through that, and it just doesn’t happen. But for me and this team and this locker room I think I’m able to bridge that gap from the young guys to the older guys,” said Krug. “I relate to every single person in that locker room, which I think will help our team as we grow and we mature bringing in younger guys from Providence. Or guys that are just signed and helping them develop and helping them feel comfortable within the locker room because it can be intimidating.

“It’s tough to walk in the locker room, you know, when you have Stanley Cup Champions and Norris and Selke Trophy winners. So it can definitely be very intimidating and hopefully I can serve as that bridge to kind of ease that gap for those guys. As far as young defensemen goes, the one thing that Claude [Julien] helped me with when I first came up was making sure I was myself. I was here for a reason. I was able to do the thing I do well, and I wasn’t straying away from that to try to be someone that I’m not. So I think young defensemen, once they realize that and they realize that everyone in this organization is there to help them then they’ll begin to improve. They’ll become themselves as they will at the NHL level.”

With Krug having experienced a couple of years of late season collapses as one of the young leaders on this Bruins team, even more will be asked of him next season as the Black and Gold push hard to right the ship.