In his 999th recreation with the Boston Bruins on Saturday night time on the Garden, David Kreci was the place he’s been so usually in his illustrious, generally under-the-radar profession. He was in place to win the sport.
In the ultimate minutes of the B’s thrilling 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the rating deadlocked at 3-3, Krejci stole John Tavares’ errant go simply outdoors the Toronto blue line, received it to Taylor Hall for the counter-attack and headed for the place the objectives are scored. Eventually, as Krejci battled two Leafs in entrance of the online, he offered the authorized interference to permit Matt Grzelcyk’s game-winner to beat Matt Murray.
It is the form of of clutch play that his teammates, new and previous, have come to anticipate from him. In two of the B’s three runs to the Stanley Cup Finals in Krejci’s profession, he has been the staff’s main scorer, together with in 2011, when the B’s gained their solely Stanley Cup within the final 50 years, when he notched 12-11-23 factors in 25 playoff video games.
While Patrice Bergeron, his document 5 Selke Awards and his out-front management rightfully garner the lion’s share of consideration, any post-season success the B’s have had on this period wouldn’t have been doable with out Krejci.
“In those big moments, you look around and you can feel the pressure on the bench and in the stands, on the coaches and the players. And then you look at him and he’s just kind of hanging out,” stated Brad Marchand. “It’s almost like he doesn’t feel any emotion whatsoever, good or bad. It definitely gives you a calming sense in those moments. Then especially when you see him take over, you feed off of that. So it’s been a lot of fun to watch.”
Compared to Marchand, Hall is a relative short-timer in Boston. But when he arrived right here two years in the past, Hall was paired with Krejci and it was one thing of a revelation to the one-time Hart Trophy winner.
“I honestly didn’t know too much about him as a player before I got here. I had some people in hockey tell me that he was a really smart player, a guy that hadn’t maybe had top-tier linemates in maybe a couple of years and he just needed someone to run with,” stated Hall. “And I feel the primary recreation, I don’t assume we scored on any objectives. But shortly thereafter, we caught on fireplace a bit bit, had an actual good finish to the season, scored a few objectives within the playoffs and had plenty of enjoyable collectively.
“He’s a great guy. He’s a guy that never panics on or off the ice. He’s very even-keeled and really fun to be around in that way. And on the ice, it speaks to his smarts and his poise on the ice that he’s been able to play 1,000 games and be able to maintain that play as he’s entering his 1,000th game.”
Krejci’s dry, straight-faced model of humor can also be legendary within the B’s dressing room. Marchand, whose personal model is a little more, let’s say, aggressive, couldn’t go up his likelihood at taking photographs at Krejci when the topic of his 1,000th recreation got here up.
“What? I thought he hit that two years ago! He’s got to be the oldest guy to ever do it, no?” cracked Marchand.
In his first 12 months teaching the B’s, Jim Montgomery has shortly come to understand the sudden laughs Krejci can present.
“He is very funny. When we were in Anaheim, he scored that goal where he went and snapped it. I said ‘I didn’t know you had that.’ He said ‘There’s a lot you don’t know about me,’” stated a chuckling Montgomery. “He’s quick-witted and what makes him so much fun to be around is how good a person he is. His teammates love him.”
The B’s will acknowledge Krejci’s 1,000th recreation on Monday after they tackle the out of the blue sizzling Flyers (winners of seven of their final eight), however will honor him in a ceremony at a later date when his household is ready to make it over from his native Czechia.
And household, as we got here to know, is essential to Krejci. Last season, he made the bizarre profession detour of going again to play for his hometown staff HC Olomouc so his American-born youngsters might expertise what his upbringing was like.
But he at all times saved the door open for a return to Boston. Now he’s again, enjoying his slow-down recreation in an more and more go-go league, and but he’s producing as if it’s 2011. He’s received 11-20-31 factors in 37 video games, doing his half in what may very well be a traditionally good season for the B’s.
“I think it’s been a really meaningful season,” stated Marchand. “His decision to leave last year was completely family-based and completely understandable on why he did it. Every day is a gift with your family and for him to be able to take his kids over there and understand where he grew up and be able to spend that time with his parents, his family and friends and to play in front of him, I completely understand why he did that. It must have been very special for him. To have the opportunity to come back, have another run and be a part of a group like this, you can just see every day how much he’s enjoying it and how grateful he is to be back. Not every player has that chance to leave and come back and be a part of the league, especially at his age.”
Marchand then added one final shot for good measure: “Even being able to walk at his age is impressive.”