By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
David Krejci idolized Jaromir Jagr and probably even had his own mini-Jagr mullet growing up on the Czech Republic. The Bs center has played with Jagr on Czech National teams in the Olympics and suited up against the legendary scorer in past NHL games against the New York Rangers.
So there is a healthy respect for the legend from his home country and a player that gets people back home talking about NHL hockey again as the KHL further encroaches into the European conversation.
But Krejci wont be posing for pictures or looking for small talk tonight when the Bruins open up against the Flyers and the playmaking pivot gets his first look at Jagr in a Philadelphia uniform. Its all about business for Krejci, and Jagr -- the Czech hockey poster boy -- is the enemy.
Obviously I want to get a win tomorrow and hopefully he isnt going to have a good game," Krejci said. "I like him as a player and I like him as a person and I wish him the best. But on the other hand itll be the first game for both of us, and Im going to try to make it really hard on him. Ill do everything I can to make it miserable for him if Im out on the ice against him.
Youve just got to play him physical and not let him get any speed going with that big body because it can get hard to slow him down. Im sure hell see plenty of Chara because 'Z' is always out there against him in the past. Hes 39 or 40, but hes still a very good player at this point.
Jagr is in fact 39 years old, and can still put on a show as he did during the Olympics and this spring during the World Championships. The Flyers are banking on his natural scoring touch coming through on the power play especially, and that will be good for Philadelphia. Krejci is banking on Jagrs return to the NHL changing the focus on the game of hockey back in his homeland.
Despite Krejcis status as a rising star and Stanley Cup champion, Jagr is still the biggest hockey deal going in the Czech Republic. So his move back to North America and the NHL should have some positive ramifications.
For Czech hockey its a good thing. We didnt have as big a name as Jagr when he was gone. People were talking about the NHL and the KHL at the same time in the Czech Republic, but now all of the focus will go back on the NHL, said Krejci. Kids will have the NHL as their No. 1 main goal from the time they start skating, and that will help the Czech hockey team. Its good for the NHL too.
What remains to be seen is whether its good for the Philadelphia Flyers, and Krejci aims to help avoid that Jagr Philly goodness for at least one game.