Bruins

David Krejci 'not planning on retiring' after current deal expires

David Krejci 'not planning on retiring' after current deal expires

While David Krejci admitted that the idle time during the coronavirus outbreak has given him a lot of time to think about his NHL career, the playmaking center said he was no plans on retiring when his $7.25 million per year contract runs out with the Bruins following next season.

Krejci will turn 34 years old on Tuesday in a season where he’s posted 13 goals and 43 points in 61 games along with a plus-14 rating. He has managed to remain largely healthy and productive even as he’s entering the mid-30’s portion of his NHL career.

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So it makes sense that Krejci will be looking for at least one more contract either with the Bruins or somebody else.

"My contract expires after next year. Then we’ll see. I’m not planning on retiring, that’s for sure. I plan on still playing. But for how long or what’s going to happen after [the current contract], I guess we’ll see. I’m definitely not planning on going into next season as my last," said Krejci. "I’m aware that I only have one year left. It’s not just this situation, but the older you get the more you appreciate everything.

"The life you have at home [changes], so you appreciate more [the time with] the guys and your time on the road. But then being home you appreciate everything more than before, before I had kids and stuff like that. I really enjoy going to the rink every day and being with the guys. But I also really enjoy being at home, being a dad and a husband. I was living the dream before this situation happened, but I’m sure one day we’ll all be going back to our lives."

It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do after next season when Krejci will be turning 35 years old with the fellow middle-aged Patrice Bergeron still signed up for two more seasons beyond this current one. The Bruins have top center prospect Jack Studnicka in the development pipeline right now and 2019 first-round pick John Beecher could come quickly.

It’s clear the Bruins have their eyes on getting younger at the center position over the next few years and that could mean moving on from Krejci in the twilight of his NHL career.

One byproduct of being a seasoned veteran like Krejci, though, is that you know there are only so many chances to win a Stanley Cup. Krejci and the rest of the Bruins had a prime chance at another Cup run this season as they were leading the entire NHL with 100 points.

"You definitely want to finish the season," said Krejci. "The older you get, you don’t know how many seasons you have left and we were pretty close to the playoffs and having another crack at it. You don’t want to just wash the season off and then start a new one. I definitely want to finish it, especially with the team we had this year at the top of the standings.

"But being off for this long and how many more weeks or months, it’s going to be challenging [when we return]. I don’t think we have any advantage anymore. I don’t think it matters which team finished first and which team finished 15th or 16th."

Clearly the clock is ticking on Krejci’s time in Boston given all of the factors involved even if the Czech center keeps playing beyond his current deal. This postseason, if it happens at all, may be the last, best chance for many of the current, aging core of Bruins players to win a Cup before changes are forced on a hockey team with a window shutting on them.

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

The NHL is officially returning to play.

The league and NHLPA ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal Friday, paving the way for the 2019-20 season to finish. The regular season is over, but the league is not yet jumping into the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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The top four teams in each conference will determine their seeding for the first round by playing a round robin format. The teams ranked No. 5 through No. 12 in each conference will square off in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The four winners of the qualifying series in each conference will be matched up against the top four teams for the first round based on seeding.

These games will take place in two host cities. The Eastern Conference games will be played at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, and the Western Conference matchups will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Here's the schedule for every round robin game and qualifying round series. Check back to this article after each game for scores and updated schedules.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Sunday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning
Saturday, Aug. 9: Bruins vs. Capitals

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 12) Montreal Canadiens
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(No. 6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (No. 11) New York Rangers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Hurricanes 3, Rangers 2
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Game 4, Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

(No. 7) New York Islanders vs. (No. 10) Florida Panthers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(No. 8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (No. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 5, Stars 3
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 12) Chicago Blackhawks
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

(No. 6) Nashville Predators vs. (No. 11) Arizona Coyotes
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes 4, Predators 3
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

(No. 7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (No. 10) Minnesota Wild
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

(No. 8) Calgary Flames vs. (No. 9) Winnipeg Jets
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets
Game 4, Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*
*If necessary

Jack Studnicka out of Bruins lineup vs. Lightning in NHL round robin

Jack Studnicka out of Bruins lineup vs. Lightning in NHL round robin

The Bruins always intended to mix and match combinations and players during the round robin games while readying for the true Stanley Cup Playoff rounds that await next week, and that’s exactly what they will do against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

Promising 21-year-old prospect Jack Studnicka will be a healthy scratch after a disappointing night for the second line in the Sunday afternoon loss to the Flyers, and instead Nick Ritchie will skate in his first game since Phase 4 began at the Toronto bubble.

Studnicka skated with a second group of Bruins players after the main practice, though the youngster was, for all intents and purposes, the second line forward who stood out the most during a pretty invisible afternoon for Krejci and DeBrusk.

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He had four shot attempts in 11:36 of ice time in Sunday’s loss to Philly and had a hustling back-check to break up a 2-on-1 in the first period that was one of the few B’s highlights from the entire afternoon.

“Tuukka is scheduled to start. Ritchie goes in and plays with Krejci and Kuhlman on the right,” said B's head coach Bruce Cassidy. “That’s how they practiced [on Tuesday]. We don’t want to overanalyze one particular game, but that’s where we’re at to a certain extent.

“[Studnicka] is going with the second group. He’s healthy. We’re trying to go with a smaller group on the day before the game. He was out after practice with [Trent] Frederic and [Zach] Senyshyn to get some work.”

Ritchie will play the left wing with Krejci and Karson Kuhlman on the second line, and Jake DeBrusk will drop to third line right wing alongside Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork.

Ondrej Kase won’t play against Tampa Bay, but is expected to get into this weekend’s round robin finale vs. the Washington Capitals ahead of the traditional playoff rounds. Some of it is obviously about getting all of his players some game action this week, and some of it also about a couple of disappointing games and a “low energy” practice on Tuesday that has caught Cassidy’s attention.

“It’s a tough mental part right now. You don’t know who your opponent is going to be next week and you still want to pick up wins,” said Cassidy. “You’re trying to balance that urgency while preparing for your first playoff opponent, so tomorrow [against Tampa Bay] should be a good test for us and bring out of the best of us.

“Yesterday was a good day. We worked on a lot of offensive principles, shooting the puck and getting to the net. Today we lacked a little energy. We addressed that. Part of the mental challenge for every team in this tournament is creating your own energy. We as coaches might have to look at that as well. Do we need to bring more? Should there be more chatter? Should we assign to the assistant coaches some verbal cues when [players] need to step up.”

Here are the expected line combos and D-pairings for Wednesday night’s round robin game vs. the Lightning:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie David Krejci Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork Charlie Coyle Jake DeBrusk
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDERS

Tuukka Rask
Jaroslav Halak