BOLTON – Just before teeing off at the Bruins’ annual charity golf tournament Monday, David Krejci replied to one of several questions from the media horde surrounding him that it was a long summer; in fact it was “too long.”
Well, Krejci was one of the main culprits in the Boston Bruins not playing up to their potential and losing a first-round series in seven games to Washington. Remember, you were able to count his goals against the Capitals on one finger. That defeat guaranteed the Bruins an elongated offseason, especially compared to the one they barely got to enjoy after beating Vancouver for the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Watching the Los Angeles Kings hoist the Cup in June and having too much time to work out over the summer was a couple motivating factors for Krejci in the months since Boston lost to Washington.
“Obviously, the season is long. Ups and downs are going to happen. But I’m going to try to have a good start, compared to last year, I had a bad start,” the center said. “But I want to have a good start, really, really focus on that, and whatever happens after that happens. I just want to have a good start and go to every game, leave everything out there. And I’m sure I’ll do it …”
We all know a lockout might delay the Bruins’ attempt to bounce back from last season’s disappointment. There’s a chance Krejci starts this season in his native Czech Republic instead of the NHL. But once the NHL gets going – assuming it does — the key for the 26-year-old Krejci might be to stay in the right frame of mind over the course of the season. In addition to a streaky season production-wise, Krejci was also juggled around head coach Claude Julien’s lineup, even playing some games on the wing.
There’s a right and wrong way to handle such maneuvers, and Krejci thinks he probably didn’t deal with the situation the way he should have.
“I’ve just got to stay positive. I got down on myself a lot when coach put me down on a different line or on wing. Maybe I was blaming him for those things, but I shouldn’t do that,” said Krejci, who finished the regular season with 23-39-62 totals in 79 games last season. “He’s the coach; he’s trying to make his team the best it can be. And he thought moving me to wing or onto a different line that would happen. I took it a little differently and I got really down on myself and it took me a little while to get out of that. So hopefully I’ll learn from that and I know now I have to stay positive no matter what happens.”
Fresh off leading all playoff scorers with 23 points during the Bruins’ run to the ’12 Cup championship, Krejci showed his commitment to the team by signing a three-year, $15.75 million extension last fall that starts this season. The organization in turn hasn’t turned any of the thousands of trade rumors about the center into truth. He says the speculation fuels him as much as last season’s failure.
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With Nathan Horton reportedly healthy enough to again ride the right wing next to Krejci and Milan Lucic, the Bruins should again have a top line that punishes opponents. If Krejci remembers not to punish himself and instead work through his struggles, next summer might not be quite as long as 2012.