By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins held their traditional year-end media availabilities in non-traditional fashion, meeting with reporters via Zoom just two days after their postseason ended on Long Island on Wednesday night.READ MORE: TD Garden Requiring Vaccination Or Negative COVID Test For Bruins, Celtics Games And Concerts
Tuukka Rask announcing that he needs surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip was the biggest news of the day, as he heads into unrestricted free agency at age 34 and faces six months of recovery time after he goes under the knife.
As for the rest of the sessions, here’s what was particularly notable from all the Bruins who spoke over the course of four hours.
–Patrice Bergeron is going year by year with his career.
It’s a striking thought, but eventually the Boston Bruins will exist without Patrice Bergeron centering the top line.
Bergeron is of course the longest-tenured member of the team, and he has been forever. He debuted back in the 2003-04 season as an 18-year-old, and he ranks third on the Bruins’ all-time list for games played at 1,143. He’s also played in the second-most playoff games in franchise history with 160, behind only Ray Bourque (180).
But his contract only runs through next season, and he said that he’s going to take things year by year from here on out.
“I’ll take it a year at a time and see how my body feels and all that,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron will turn 36 years old in late July as he gears up for his 18th NHL season.
–Jeremy Swayman said that he is now “addicted” to the playoff atmosphere at the TD Garden in the postseason.
The rookie was a pleasant surprise for the organization this year, going 7-3-0 with two shutouts to go with a .945 save percentage and 1.50 GAA in his first 10 NHL games. He only got one period of action — and faced three shots — in the playoffs, but given the Rask news, he figures to be in line for a significantly increased role next year.
Based on his comments, he’ll certainly be eager to get back in front of a packed house in Boston in the postseason.
“I think the intensity was pretty obvious to everyone. Teams are fighting for their lives and their seasons, and it was apparent. And also seeing a full crowd at the TD Garden was pretty special, too. That was my first time, especially being on ice level, with that. And I was addicted ever since I saw that,” a beaming Swayman said. “Playoffs, there’s nothing like it. It’s true what they say. And again, to be a part of that playoff push was pretty special, and I’m addicted. I want to be back for more.”
–David Krejci has no clue what his future holds.
The second-longest-tenured Bruins player behind Bergeron likewise isn’t certain of what he’ll do next. His contract is up, and he’s an unrestricted free agent for the second time in his career. Last time, he signed a six-year, $43.5 million deal to stay in Boston. Now that he’s 35, he’s due to make a bit less dough, but he didn’t sound overly concerned about money.
He truly sounds like he has absolutely no idea what will come next.
“It’s not about money. I guess that’s all I can tell you. My next deal isn’t going to be based on money,” said Krejci. “And at the same time, I just can’t see myself playing for a different team. But we’ll see what happens. I don’t even know. I talk to my parents and they ask me, and I can’t even give them a straight answer. I just don’t know right now.”
Not that we're here to rate this sort of thing, but Dave Krejci sure seems like the most bummed out guy who's talked to us today. pic.twitter.com/Bga8nRXVoj
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) June 11, 2021
Earlier in his career, Krejci said he hoped to end his playing career in his native Czech Republic. He said he still wants to do that, but for different reasons. His parents don’t speak English, and his children don’t speak Czech, so he’s hoping some immersion will help his children learn his native language and be able to communicate better with their grandparents.
But he also doesn’t seem like he’s in a rush to head back home, as he now considers Boston his new home.
So it’s a big time TBD when it comes to DK.READ MORE: Funeral Held For Former Bruins Player Jimmy Hayes
–Brad Marchand had sports hernia surgery before the season. He had his best year in terms of goals per game and points per game, but he also said he wasn’t feeling totally comfortable until May.
As such, he’ll take some time now to rest it to try to feel at his best when next season begins.
“I was very happy with the way that it progressed through the season. And the way it felt it still really bothered me probably until a month ago,” Marchand said. “And there’s still a lot of recovering and healing that needs to be done so I’ll probably still take a little bit of time and continue to let it heal up.”
As always, Marchand will try to improve upon his own game, even though the offseason is short.
“Every year you try to find something that you can improve upon. So it’s a shorter offseason this year but I’ll try to continue to work on my game and be better and come back,” Marchand said. “That drive to win and to be better is still there, so I’m gonna work on it. But I still do need to kind of take some time and just make sure that everything’s feeling good.”
–Charlie Coyle indicated that people who are overly critical of Tuukka Rask are bozos. It was a good line. Here it is.
“The criticism he gets is just insane,” Coyle said. “It’s gotta be people who just, I don’t know, don’t watch closely or what. But we all know what Tuukka brings and how good he is, what he plays through, what he’s done for us, what he’s done for this organization. For anyone to criticize him is — I guess someone used the word ‘bozo’ before. So it’s just stupid. Tuukka’s one of the best goalies, and he’s been doing it for however long now, playing through stuff. Most people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and what guys go through, what he goes through, what he plays through. And he does it pretty well. So we love Tuukks, we know what he brings every day, and I think Tuukks knows that and that’s all he needs.”
That was nice overall. But busting out the bozo word is always appreciated.
–Taylor Hall wants to stay in Boston and claims he’s not looking to max out his value on his next contract. The offers sent his way and his ultimate decision will determine how true that statement is, but after spending time in Arizona, New Jersey and Buffalo, there’s reason to believe that a hyped-up Garden playoff crowd left an impression on him.
–Curtis Lazar got hurt in Game 5 and missed Game 6. He said he sprained his MCL and bruised his ACL but will not need surgery.
–Both Marchand and Hall were asked about heading back home in Canada this summer. They both said that they’re not in a huge rush to go back, considering Canada’s “lockdown” situation regarding COVID. Marchand said he wants to get back to Nova Scotia to see his family but doesn’t seem to be in a rush.
–Jake DeBrusk hears the haters.
The 24-year-old scored 46 goals with 31 assists in the 133 regular-season games prior to this year. And then he scored five goals with nine assists in 41 games, spending time as a healthy scratch and a fourth-liner as he tried to rediscover his game. He posted 2-1-3 totals in 10 playoff games (sitting out of Game 5 vs. the Islanders as a healthy scratch).
“I need to revamp some stuff, obviously,” DeBrusk said. “There’s a lot of factors that went into this year — some things I could control and couldn’t control. I dealt with a lot of negativity as well. It’s one of those things that, it’s something to learn from. Something that you obviously sign up [for]. I’m a big boy and I can handle that. I just became a little bit of an easy target. So my haters had a lot to say this year. But it’s one of those things where I’ve just got to revamp some things.”
DeBrusk added: “I’m looking forward to this year. I’ve got to prove a lot of people wrong.”
–Kevan Miller has missed a lot of time over the past three years, and sitting out of playoff games “doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure.” The D-man said he was “super close” to being able to return, after he got knocked out of the first round on a high hit from Dmitry Orlov that resulted in Miller hitting his head on the ice. He suffered a concussion. He said he probably would have been able to play Game 7 on Friday night, if the Bruins could have forced it.
“Which makes it even worse, to be honest with you,” Miller lamented.
On the hit, Miller said he has an issue with the way Orlov delivered it.
MORE NEWS: Tuukka Rask Still Hopes To Return To Bruins, Promises Money Won't Be An Issue: 'I'll Be A Cheap Goalie'
Bad Orlov hit on Kevan Miller pic.twitter.com/WxCnrkR90b
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 21, 2021
“I wish he would have just hit me in the shoulder instead of the chin. That’s all,” Miller said of Orlov. “Just hit me in the shoulder, hit me clean, I’m still playing. So … yeah. Just hit me square.”