WILMINGTON, Mass. – David Krejci joked he needs a little more rest these days while turning 30 years old at the end of this month and that was the reason for some absences at practice as of late.
Krejci was missing from Wednesday night’s practice session the day after a tight one-goal loss to the New Jersey Devils, but was back centering Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak at Thursday morning’s practice session at Ristuccia Arena.
The playmaking center will play on Friday night in St. Louis against the Blues and didn’t miss any games in March while posting a goal and eight points in 14 games for the Black and Gold. Still, he also has looked at times like something in his lower body is compromising his skating game: he was beaten to a loose puck by Rick Nash of all people for an empty net goal in a loss to the Rangers and didn’t have an extra gear on the back-check on a Reilly Smith rebound goal in a loss to Florida last week, as well.
In certain games like the win over the Maple Leafs, Krejci looks perfectly fine and like he’s ready to bust out into the heightened playoff version of himself. That’s the one who dropped a couple of assists in 22 minutes of ice time against Toronto and strongly resembles the player who led the NHL in playoff scoring on two different occasions in his career.
So is Krejci healthy, or is he battling through a physical ailment that’s hampering him at this late stage of the season?
“I guess we’ll find out at the end of the year,” said a smiling Krejci, alluding to the annual “listing of surgeries” from the Bruins on breakup day once the season and playoff run has come to an end. “I just took a day off [on Wednesday]. Then we had a good practice to get ready for [St. Louis].
“Obviously you like to be 100 percent in the games, and that’s what we’re trying to do here. I felt really good, and I’m ready to [against the Blues]. At this time of year you don’t want to practice. You want to get in the games, and get some points. Now we have two huge games on the road, and I can’t wait to play in them.”
It would seem pretty obvious the Czech pivot tweaked something along the way, but he's gutting through it. There’s even less doubt the Bruins need the best version possible of the dynamic Krejci if they’re going to pull some points out of the road trip through St. Louis and Chicago, and keep toward that elusive playoff position.