Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 30: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins reacts after Florida Panthers defeat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime of Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

And the hits just keep on coming for the Bruins at the center position.

Mere weeks after Bruins captain and perennial contention lifeline Patrice Bergeron decided to retire from the game (and while he was still at the top of his game as a player), David Krejci has officially followed, with Krejci formally announcing his retirement from the NHL at 9 a.m. on Monday.

Krejci’s decision to call it a career comes after 16 years with the Bruins, including a one-year return to Boston this past season following a 2021-22 campaign spent with Krejci’s hometown Olomouc HC in Czechia.

Krejci put out his statement confirming the decision via the Bruins.

  • Mar 14, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 14, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (46) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. (Jamie Sabau/USA TODAY Sports)

    After 15 full NHL seasons I have decided to retire from the best league in the world.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cam Neely and Don Sweeney for allowing me to take my time with my decision and announcement.

    I also want to thank the Jacobs family and the entire Bruins organization for believing in me over and over again and giving me the opportunity to be part of this amazing family for so many years.

    When I was drafted in 2004, I had no idea that I would be working with such incredible and driven people who would lead us to 3 Stanley Cup Finals, and winning the ultimate goal in 2011.

    I have made so many great friendships throughout the organization. You have always been there for me whenever I needed something and I will always be here for you.

    To my teammates – I have been very lucky to be on so many good teams and play with so many great players. You always start as coworkers but end as friends, and I’m so proud to have met some of my closest friends over the years. That’s the best part about our sport.

    Thank you to all the coaching staffs I was lucky to have in my career – I was coached by some of the best coaches in the world.

    Thank you to my agents for all you have done for me since my teenage years.

    To my mom and dad – Thank you for letting me chase my dream of playing in the NHL. Being a father, I now realize how hard it had to be to send your kid to another continent with no English. Without your support, my NHL dream would still be a dream and not reality.

    To my brother Zdenek – We dreamt the same thing as kids but only one of us was fortunate to experience it. You never complained and you were never jealous of me – you were the exact opposite of that. I don’t think you understand how much influence you have had on my career, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    To my wife Naomi and my kids Elina and Everett – As I’m writing this and hearing you and the kids playing and being really loud it makes me happy that I get to experience it in real life and not over the phone when we are on trips far away. You understood all the hard work I had to put in and all the hours in the summer to get ready for a new season. You always listened when I was in my lows and gave me strength and the right advice. Now it’s time for me to try to be the best husband and father I can be and support you in our next chapter in life.

    I want to thank the media – I really appreciate all of you even if I don’t like speaking too much … I will miss you.

    And to Bruins fans and the city of Boston – THANK YOU. You have always treated me with nothing but respect and I will be forever grateful. I will miss playing in front of you, but I am and always will be a Bruin.

    DK46

  • Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) handles the puck during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) handles the puck during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    The return to the NHL this past season came with some proof that the 37-year-old could still bring a little something something to a roster, as Krejci put up 16 goals and 56 points in 70 games in a second-line role for the club. It was Krejci’s most productive season since his 20 goals and 73 points in 2018-19, and his 44 even-strength points actually ranked as the sixth-most he’s had in any season in his NHL career.

    The center of a ‘Czech Line’ with Pavel Zacha on the left and David Pastrnak to the right, Krejci was unfortunately limited towards the end of the regular season with a lower-body injury, and missed three of Boston’s seven playoff games with an upper-body injury that he opted not to disclose even with his season over.

    Krejci was as emotional as ever when discussing Boston’s failure to get out of the first round this past postseason, too, comparing the sting of it to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. (That was always a sign that this return to Boston was going to be a one-and-done for the Czech playmaker.)

    “I have lost some tough years before, but this one I would put probably right next to 2019,” Krejci admitted at break-up day back in May. “This one’s going to hurt.”

  • Mar 26, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) and right wing David Pastrnak (88) look on during the warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 26, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) and right wing David Pastrnak (88) look on during the warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

    A second-round pick of the Bruins back in 2004, Krejci spent his entire 1,032-game NHL career with the Bruins, breaking into the league in 2006-07 but cementing himself as a full-time player in 2007-08.

    Krejci’s true ‘explosion’ at the NHL came the following year, too, where he put up a career-high 73 points skating on a line with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. That year saw Krejci finish sixth in the Selke Trophy voting, along with 13th on the end-of-year All-Star team voting at the center position.

    But Krejci was perhaps most known for being “Playoff Krejci,” with Krejci often elevating his game to a higher level in the postseason. Krejci’s playoff effectiveness was first noted when the Bruins were reverse-swept following Krejci’s series-ending wrist injury against the Flyers in the 2010 second round, and truly came to the table for the Bruins in 2011 when Krejci led the entire playoffs in scoring on the way to a Stanley Cup. Krejci also led the playoffs in scoring in 2013, though the Bruins would come up short in a six-game war with the Blackhawks.

    There was also something to be said for the Bruins’ inability to go on deep runs when Krejci was ailing and out of the lineup or at less than 100 percent, such as 2009, 2012, and 2023.

    Overall, Krejci retires from the Bruins with 43 goals and 128 points in 160 career playoff games with the Bruins, with his 43 goals ranking sixth and his 128 points tied with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron for the second-most in franchise history. Extending that scope beyond Boston, only six NHL players scored more playoff points than Krejci from 2008 through 2023. That list includes Joe Pavelski, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin.

  • Oct 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) congratulates center David Krejci (46) after their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) congratulates center David Krejci (46) after their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

    Krejci will retire from the Bruins as one of just seven skaters to play at least 1,000 games with the Bruins, with his 1,032 games in a Boston sweater ranking fifth on the club’s all-time list. His 231 goals, meanwhile, are 13th on the franchise leaderboard, while his 786 points are the ninth-most by any player in the century-long history of the club.

    Krejci’s retirement also means that Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic are the last Bruins standing from the 2011 Stanley Cup team (and it’s worth noting that Lucic had an eight-year excursion out of Boston), while Tyler Seguin is the other ‘last man standing’ out in Dallas, with every other active member of that playoff roster formally retired.

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