Bruins

Krejci: Bettman treats us like animals

688378.jpg

Krejci: Bettman treats us like animals

David Krejci is a soft-spoken man that can sometimes scramble looking for the precise word hes looking for in English, his second language. But that shouldnt be misunderstood for shyness or an unwillingness to be candid, and his recent comments to a Czech Republic media outlet prove that entirely.

A frustrated-sounding Krejci took issue with NHL commissioner Gary Bettmans 8 million salary and says that he treats players "like animals" according to a Google translation of the article.

"It's weird," Krejci said when asked about the current state of negotiations. "Our Association gives owners of three proposals, and they swept aside for fifteen minutes. I do not have anything to say. Bettman took during the last lockout 3.5 million in salary and now it's at eight million."

The Bruins center, who is starring for HC Pardubice as a point-per-game player in the Czech League during the lockout, said he believes that Bettman and by proxy the 30 NHL owners are the only ones that truly want the NHL lockout. Its a simplistic view of the situation, of course, but its also what many of the 700 plus NHLPA membership believes now that nearly a month of the regular season has already been cancelled.

"Bettman does what he wants," Krejci said. "We want to play, we're the ones who are doing the show in the NHL. But Bettman thinks it makes him. It is unfortunate that the NHL have such a guy. It's a shame for the entire hockey world. He treats us like animals. Its really a shame that he is not at the forefront."

It should be noted that Krejci is about to start a five-year, 15 million contract extension this season, and has done pretty well financially during his NHL days.

The comments are actually reminiscent of a conversation this humble hockey writer had with Krejci a few years ago when he said that his team would "chase Colin Campbell out of the room" if he attempted to give them a pre-game warning prior to the "Revenge Game" against the Penguins. That game, of course, followed Matt Cookes downright evil blindside heat shot on Marc Savard that has effectively ended the centers career.

Its not surprising that Krejci came up with the "animals" comment after Detroit Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano made waves after calling the centers linemate, and good friend, Milan Lucic part of the league's cattle in a controversial interview that ultimately earned the NHL exec a 250,000 fine. Devellano meant it as a metaphor for the NHL owners as The Ranch and the players, coaches and executives as the cattle, but the specific mention of Lucics name in the interview privately set off a number of the Boston players.

But it also appears most NHL players dont need much provocation to lob verbal bombs at the league as all games have been cancelled through Nov. 1, and theres little progress toward a deal to start the season on Nov. 2.

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

bruins-tuukka-rask-032316.jpg

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork
DeBrusk-Backes-Pastrnak
Agostino-Nash-White
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Miller-Postma

Khudobin

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

bruins_tim_schaller_030817.jpg

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.