Krejci: “Pretty Cool” back in Boston for her first skate

BOSTONDavid Krejci had no trouble finding his way around the Warrior Ice Arena, but with so many new faces since he last walked the halls in the spring of 2021, the veteran centerman still had some getting used to on his arrival in Brighton on Monday Morning.

“Pretty cool,” Krejci said with a beaming smile. “I was really excited to meet all the guys and obviously a lot of new faces, not just the players but also the coaching staff and the organization. So that was really nice…that was a good first daytime.”

A first day like no other for the 36-year-old, who returns to the Bruins after a season spent at Olomouc HC in his native Czechia. Nearly a calendar year after leaving the only NHL team he’s ever known, Krejci opted to return to Black & Gold for a 16e season when he signed a one-year deal with Boston early last month.

“I have always placed the highest expectations on myself and this year is no different,” Krejci said. “I worked very hard in the summer. I probably had the longest summer I’ve had in a long time, and I was skating a lot too. So, I feel good now. We’ll see how it goes.

While considering returning, Krejci had a number of conversations with Patrice Bergeron – his longtime running mate in the middle of the ice, who made his own decision to return this season – as the two imagined what it might be like to return for another season together.

“I spoke to Bergy several times before I started working on the deal with my agent and Don [Sweeney]”, Krejci said. “It’s good when a player like Bergy calls you and tells you all about the expectations and what he thinks and stuff like that, it’s good. This is what you want. If someone wants you, that’s what you want, that’s what you want to hear.

“And the same with Don and Cam [Neely]. And when they called me I felt that they thought I could make a difference and they really wanted me in this team and it was mutual so it wasn’t a very difficult decision. And then I got my agent involved and we did the job. I’m so super excited, super happy to be back here.”

Video: Krejci speaks for the first time as he joins the Bruins

Krejci also saw plenty of opportunities ahead of him.

“If you look at this whole season, there are so many exciting opportunities, Winter Classic [at Fenway], obviously 1,000 games for the Bruins,” said Krejci, who enters the season having played 962 career games. “A lot of guys I grew up with in the locker room are still there. There are so many things that excited me to come back. Playing with pasta is also part of it.”

Krejci had the chance to skate alongside Pastrnak at the 2022 IIHF World Championship in May, as the duo teamed up to help Czechia win a bronze medal. Although he often played on separate lines during Krejci’s first stint with the Bruins, the chemistry between the two was evident on the world stage.

“I felt like I played with him all season,” Krejci said. “We just have good chemistry and we don’t need to train a lot together. We just go out there and do our thing.”

This report is likely to be repeated in Black & Gold with new head coach Jim Montgomery hinting over the summer that Krejci may have Pastrnak and Taylor Room on its wings to start the 2022-23 campaign.

“Obviously that would be awesome,” Krejci said. “Two of the best players in the league and if I get the chance to play with them or at least one of them then that would be great. Obviously we’ll try to talk a lot but I’ve played with both in the past.

“The chemistry shouldn’t be a problem, just getting up to speed and talking a lot in the hall and on the ice, but I think it’ll be fine. »

Krejci is confident in his own game and how he compares to NHL competition given his results at the World Championship and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“I felt good all year and I felt great at the Olympics,” Krejci said. “We lost against Switzerland, unfortunately, but I felt good. I felt like one of the best players in the tournament or the whole season last year, then in the World Championship as well. So it was kind of a reminder that I still have it.

“I feel good. I love the game. And yeah, when Pasta came on we were playing good hockey and maybe that’s the point I started thinking, maybe I’ll make a comeback . And then when the Bruins called , it went from there.”

And where does he go from here? That’s a discussion for later.

For now, Krejci is just thrilled to be back in the Spoked-B.

“The older you get…you kind of just play around, see how you feel, see if people still want you or not,” Krejci said. “But maybe that’s the beauty of it all because you don’t know what’s going to happen next year, so you try to make the most of the opportunity you have in front of you. And whatever happens after it happens, you know It’s out of your hands.

“You just focus on having a really good year and trying to have fun too because I missed that when I was in Europe – although I had fun, but that was different.”

Talks continue with Pastrnak

Speaking from Buffalo ahead of Monday morning’s Prospects Challenge final, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that while he remains in communication with Pastrnak’s camp – primarily agent JP Barry – regarding an extension of contract, there is no timeline yet on a potential resolution. .

“I think Pasta was pretty clear about what was going on for him this summer and where things were and we were also indicating that we would like to find common ground,” Sweeney said. “JP and I are going to work hard to try to do this. There was never a timeline. I know other people have kind of tried to put one in there, it’s just not not how it works.

“I admit I’d like things to always be wrapped up before I even worry about going into a final year. But sometimes it’s just a bit more of an organic process and we’ll continue to work on it and communicate. JP and I have a good relationship that way Glad to see Pasta back and ready to go.

Right in the goal

Matt Grzelcyk, Brad Merchantand Charlie McAvoy skated separately from the main group during Monday’s captains practice at Warrior Ice Arena and, according to Sweeney, continues to stick to his original schedule for a return to action.

“All the guys are on the ice, progressing comfortably within the originally scheduled time frame,” Sweeney said. “Other than that, we’ll just cross our fingers that it continues like this. You always hope the guys come back sooner, but that’s not how we work. We make the best decision for the player and that the training staff, medical staff ultimately make the final decision.

“Grzelcyk is ahead of Charlie and Brad, but it’s good to see them all on the ice and hopefully get back to full health and get back as soon as possible. But again, the schedule has been set. and rehab and medical staff dictate. Right now, they’re right on target.

Wait, there’s more

  • Sweeney said he expects to have about “58 players or so” in training camp when it opens later this week. “We have a pretty good idea of ​​what this group will look like today,” Sweeney said. “We are going to allow a lot of children to graduate so that [Jim Montgomery’s] really has five lines and ideally 16 or 18 defenders to blend in so he can run three days, four days before we have those first two exhibition games to have two full groups and to have good practice but not too many guys.
  • Sweeney said the Rookie Camp Invitational players (James Hardie, Ryan Humphrey, Keltie Jeri-Leon and Brayden Schuurman) will return to their junior teams. “Some teams are playing this weekend. Some of them were playing up front, that’s why [Brett] Harrison was not there; unfortunately he got injured,” Sweeney said.
  • When it comes to where the former first-round pick Fabien Lysel plays this season – Boston, Providence or Vancouver (WHL -, Sweeney indicated that the winger, who impressed at the Prospects Challenge, will determine that by his performance during training camp. “It has not been determined where he will play,” Sweeney said. “Looks like he’s ready to play pro. But let’s see how camp goes, how exhibition season goes and see how he holds up. We would ideally like to see him play pro this year, but still once nothing is set in stone that it has to be so.”
  • Sweeney said there was potentially one player still in the market that the team was considering bringing to camp on a PTO (Professional Tryout Agreement): “We have a final decision to make. I don’t know at this time. “said Sweeney. “There’s one pending. We’ve spoken to several different guys and some have opted to go elsewhere for another opportunity. Right now I’m not. But there’s one hanging out there. -down.”

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