By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Although he wouldn’t reveal a specific number after taking part in a Bruins captains’ practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday, Bruins center David Krejci admitted he’s reporting to camp a few pounds lighter this year.
“Just try to be quicker, faster on the ice, that was kind of my goal in the summer,” said the 32-year-old Krejci, whose weight is typically in the mid-180s.
It’s important that Krejci focused his healthy, full offseason workout regimen on getting lighter and quicker because he’s part of the group of players throughout the NHL that are in their early 30s – now considered just past their prime – and trying to keep up with a league that seemingly gets younger and faster every season.
“The league is changing, there’s not many big, heavy guys,” he said. “They’re all so young, small, quick, so I’m just trying to keep up. I feel like I was always a pretty decent skater, carrying the puck through the neutral zone. So I’m working on my speed to get even more speed through the neutral zone and that’s kind of my game. The better I feel, the faster I feel, the more room I can make for my teammates and create more chances.”
Krejci’s indoctrination into the faster NHL came last season when he skated much of the year with one of his fastest linemates ever, rookie Jake DeBrusk. There were even 75 minutes during the season that Krejci had to keep up with DeBrusk and fellow speedy rookie Anders Bjork (with mixed results).
Krejci finished with 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) in 64 games. DeBrusk will probably be back skating next to Krejci when training camp opens in two weeks, but Rick Nash isn’t back and there could be another speedster, maybe Bjork or Ryan Donato, pushing the pace for Krejci.
Of course, much of the speculation about Krejci’s right wing has centered on David Pastrnak, who would give the line speed but also an all-around dynamic game that Krejci’s hasn’t played with in years.
There’s no denying the sight of Krejci and Pastrnak skating on the same line for the Czech Republic at the 2018 IIHF World Championship last spring had to pique Krejci and the Bruins’ interest in uniting the countrymen while wearing Bruins sweaters.
Krejci had one goal and five assists, while Pastrnak had four goals and two assists in the tournament.
“Obviously, he’s a world-class player and every time we get to play with players like that, it helps your game,” Krejci said. “It makes you feel good about yourself. So obviously I would like to play with him, but like I said, there’s so many other guys here and my focus is to just be 110 percent ready for camp.”
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @MattKalman.