BOSTON (CBS) – From his comments during the Bruins’ breakup day at TD Garden on Friday, one can tell that center David Krejci will be determined to have a bounceback season in 2012-13.
However, what he only alluded to but wouldn’t come out and say tells a tale of a player who’s a little frustrated with the way some things were done this season with the Bruins.
For the second straight postseason, Krejci was a non-factor in the first round. Although he exceeded the one point he posted against Montreal in 2011 by putting 1-2-3 totals on the score sheet against Washington, that’s hardly the production a first-line center should be proud of. If the Bruins are going to avoid another first-round exit at this time next season, they’re not going to be able to wait for Krejci to get his game going in the later rounds like he did when he emerged as the leading scorer in the all the playoffs during the ’11 Cup championship run.
Asked about a better start next season, Krejci alluded to some frustrations he had with things other than his ability to score.
“Obviously we wanted to start scoring right away,” he said about himself and left winger Milan Lucic. “Obviously it’s frustrating. But it’s really hard to say what went wrong, what I wanted to do differently and what I wanted my linemates, my coaches to do differently. I don’t want to say something I’d regret. We were pretty close to making it. Game 7, overtime, it could’ve gone either way. We just didn’t get those breaks this year.”
So apparently the 26-year-old center, even by saying he doesn’t want to comment on certain things, wasn’t pleased with certain coaching decisions that affected his line or his role. Well, considering the Bruins just signed him to a three-year deal worth $5.25 million per season, Krejci might want to start proving he’s a No. 1 center and leave the coaching and general managing to those responsible for those tasks. After all, it didn’t sound Friday like general manager Peter Chiarelli was going to look to move any of his top-six forwards, so Krejci’s here to stay.
After a season where he scored a career-high 23 goals but only matched his 62 points from a year ago, Krejci shouldn’t have much to complain about. He logged first-line and power-play minutes throughout the season and, most glaringly, posted a minus-5 rating, which was his first minus NHL season since 2007-08.
He’s focused on getting back on the plus side next year, although again it sounds like he’s more interested in proving people wrong than being a positive force for the Bruins.
“Obviously when you’re in the minus, the coaches they overlook you if they need somebody to go take a faceoff,” he said. “I know [Patrice Bergeron’s] their go-to guy all the time but it’s not only him, there’s two other forwards. I remember I used to be one of those forwards [that was counted on] but I wasn’t this year. So I definitely want that back and it basically starts with the plus/minus. I wasn’t happy with the plus/minus so I’m going to try to be not only plus, but double digits next year.”
Rather than revealing a little jealousy of Bergeron, who this year was a Selke Trophy finalist for the first time, Krejci might consider emulating his teammate. Bergeron is a model of consistency who takes care of his own end before thinking offense and has improved every single season, despite his development hitting a speed bump with the severe concussion he suffered in 2007. Krejci has to earn that type of responsibility.
Maybe Krejci wanted Tyler Seguin on his line earlier than head coach Claude Julien made that move. Of course, the minuses started piling up when Seguin jumped on Krejci’s right wing in the regular season. Or maybe Krejci had some other line combinations in his head that didn’t make it out of Julien’s mouth from behind the bench.
Regardless, it’s not Krejci’s job to coach or manage. When you were a minus-5 for the season and your season featured several multi-week stretches where you registered just a point or two, and you were virtually a non-factor in the postseason, you probably don’t have the leverage to do other peoples’ jobs.
There’s a lot of money riding on Krejci blossoming into a No. 1 center for the long haul. To do that, he has to go out and produce and filter his “displeasure” with things around him into points and goals.