BOLTON, MA – David Krejci had oodles of free time this summer waiting for the birth of his first daughter, Elina, and heard the steady flow of criticism heaped upon him after an injury-plagued season, and on his team after missing the playoffs for the first time since becoming a full time NHL player.
The Czech center said he’s 100 percent healthy headed into this season, and that every injury healed on its own after missing 35 games last season with hip, groin and knee issues.
Krejci’s worked out all summer “without a setback,” and has been skating for about a month before arriving in Boston. The playmaking centerman said he’s also motivated to quiet the growing whispers coming off a campaign where he finished with a disappointing seven goals and 31 points in 47 games.
It was the first time in Krejci’s career he missed significant time after missing just 15 games over the previous six seasons combined, and it was his lowest offensive output in a full season.
The 29-year-old is ready to return to his previously durable ways this year and help make the Bruins a dangerous offensive club.
“I had to talk to the doctors and we decided not to [have surgery at the end of the season],” said Krejci, who spoke with the media at Monday's 12th Annual Boston Bruins Golf Tournament at the International. “I took only a couple of weeks off, and I’ve been working out ever since. Last year was the first year in my career that I had some injury troubles. I’m shooting for 82 games [this season], so we’ll see what happens.
“I got hurt and I didn’t play as many games as I would like to, and we didn’t make the playoffs. So it was obviously a really long offseason. Sometimes it’s nice to get away for a couple of weeks, but then you start to miss it. You get bored, so you go on the Internet, or you watch TV and you see things. Honestly, you kind of get tired of reading speculation about trades, and line combinations, and point production and stuff like that. You just want to get [the season] started, and make all the speculation get put aside. I want you guys to write about different things, so I can’t wait for that.”
One thing Krejci wasn’t hoping to be different was his left wing.
Krejci admitted that seeing Milan Lucic get traded to Los Angeles during NHL Draft weekend was upsetting when it initially happened, but the alternate captain is looking forward to his new-look Bruins team.
Sometimes change isn’t such a bad thing, and that goes double for the Bruins, who looked a little stale around the edges last year.
“It’s gonna be weird. We’ve been together for a long time, and now he’s gone. So that was obviously a really sad day,” said Krejci, who had teamed with the B’s left winger for the better part of the last five seasons together. “But we have to understand that it’s a business, and there were some upper management changes. They’re just trying to make our team better than last year, and they did some changes. I really like the team that we have right now, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Krejci doesn’t want to speculate on his new linemates for this upcoming season, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Matt Beleskey on his left side in a Lucic-esque role, and perhaps countrymen David Pastrnak on his right wing for some instant offense.
But we don’t want to speculate too much about it just in case Krejci is reading this column after he gets bored on a Monday afternoon with training camp still days away.