Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 12: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period of Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 12, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After a year back home, and with stops in Beijing and Finland along the way in a national team sweater, David Krejci is back for another round with the Bruins.

Krejci’s (highly-affordable) return to Boston is a welcomed one, of course. Especially with the Bruins lacking the financial capital necessary to take a swing at any of the free agent market’s big fish. But did the firing of Bruce Cassidy, a coach who Krejci threw some slight shade at this past season, lead No. 46 back to the B’s?

“That would be a good story if I said yes, but no, my decision was made before [the Bruins] hired the new coach,” the 36-year-old Krejci said. “The firing of Butchy had nothing to do with my decision coming back.

“I think my last game was sometime [in] early June, the World Championship ended, and then I went to the U.S. [and] got away from hockey and just cleared my head. After a few weeks of talking to my family about our future, we decided to go back to Boston, back to the NHL. Obviously, Boston was my No. 1 option, and pretty much my only option. But [with] the decision, I have to give credit to Bergy and Pasta. We had so many conversations in the last few months about coming back, and they’re the reason I want to come back and play with those guys again.”

That’s obviously easy to say now. The rumblings of Cassidy not exactly being a favorite of the locker room have lingered from the moment they announced his dismissal, and the front office has seemingly alluded to it on multiple occasions. Krejci is still pretty much the only on-the-record case of a player expressing frustration with the ex-B’s coach, with Krejci basically outright telling a Czech outlet that he had wished Cassidy was willing to break up the high-powered first line and drop Pastrnak down to his wing, which didn’t happen until after he left.

But Krejci noting that this wasn’t about the man behind the bench does track when lining it up with his in-season talks with the Bruins. The Bruins and Krejci remained in touch during the regular season, and it was clear that the interest was mutual. Even if the pathway was borderline impossible, as Krejci noted that he had ‘about two days’ to get his kids out of school and pack up to return to the United States and sign with the Bruins. You’d need to call for a dust filter for a Hoover Max extract pressure pro model 60 to disappear that quickly.

You’re not doing the math on that kind of turnaround if you’re hung up on the coach.

Oh, and Krejci has always been a painfully blunt person. Sometimes to the point where you wonder if he just has a wickedly dry sense of humor or simply doesn’t give an F about nothin’.

It’s also not hard to see why Krejci was a tad frustrated with not having an all-world talent like Pastrnak with him on his line. It definitely didn’t help when the Bruins told Krejci to make it work with two different Ritchie brothers, Karson Kuhlman, David Backes, and Ondrej Kase among others while Pastrnak lit up with Bergeron and Marchand either. Krejci saw a potential solution, but the requests didn’t advance out of exactly that. Of all the critiques of Cassidy, this one always had the most weight, especially in our post-2019 Game 7 loss world.

And after a successful World Championship run together, Krejci rightfully and understandably isn’t backing off that desire to play with Pastrnak. For painfully obvious reasons.

“Obviously, who wouldn’t want to play with one of the best players in the world?” Krejci asked. “I was lucky enough that I got to play with him at the World Championship and that was kind of a turning point in my decision, coming back to the NHL. Just playing with him, just kind of seeing what we can still do together, it was pretty cool. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to play with him this year.”

Or, in other words, new B’s coach Jim Montgomery has found his one-two punch on line two.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.