Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Jan 2, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) walks onto the ice before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2023 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

A run-it-back, ‘Last Dance’ approach from the Bruins in pursuit of one more Stanley Cup did not go as planned.

In fact, what the Bruins hoped would be a two-month run to glory and a Duck Boat parade through the streets of Boston was cut short — and in absolutely stunning fashion — in less than two weeks.

For the core of this team, it’ll be the fuel that powers their offseason workouts. For others, it’ll be their final memory in Boston before cashing in elsewhere. But for guys like Bruins center David Krejci, who came back to Boston for another run with the only NHL team he had ever known after a year in the Czech League, the unknown of it all only adds to the pain.

“I have lost some tough years before, but this one I would put probably right next to 2019,” Krejci, holding court in front of his stall at Warrior Ice Arena on break-up day, admitted. “This one’s going to hurt.”

Krejci also didn’t hide from the elephant in the room when it comes to the extra ‘hurt’ of this first-round exit.

“Then you have another thing: That could’ve been my last game,” Krejci acknowledged. “There’s just lots of emotions. I don’t even like to talk about it, because we have talked about it with lots of guys in the last couple days.

“It gets emotional and [I’m] just not ready right now.”

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  • It’s an emotional conversation, and one Krejci may not be ready to have right now, but one thing Krejci was confident in when it came to his hockey future was that a return to HC Olomouc was no longer on the table.

    “No, it’s either come back [to the Bruins] or be done,” Krejci said when asked if a return to his home country was among things he was considering this summer. “If I come back, it would be [in the] NHL. I did what I did last year and I’m happy I did that. No regrets. But I closed the door, so I will make a decision soon.

    “It would be NHL [and] obviously be the Bruins.”

  • 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)

  • Back in his familiar spot in the middle of Boston’s second line, this time with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak as his most consistent linemates, Krejci enjoyed a strong return to the NHL, with 16 goals and 56 points in 70 games.

    It was his 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.

    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.

    “I don’t want to say what I had, [but] I wish I was 100 percent for all seven games,” said Krejci. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t, that wasn’t the issue, so. I’m happy I came back for Game 6 [and] Game 7.”

  • 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)

  • Krejci’s decision to come back for one more ‘final’ run with the team is a decision that’s multi-layered.

    Krejci, who lives in South Carolina in the offseason, acknowledged the difficulties that came with this season, his family did not join him for this expected one-and-done back in Boston. That was something that took Krejci a lot of time to get used to, especially after a season full of family time in Czechia in 2021-22.

    “I think it was one of the best years, but also one of the worst years,” Krejci admitted. “It was a rollercoaster. There were a few times this year that were disappointing. If we were not doing good, I would have just packed it up and gone back. From that standpoint it was tough but coming here every day and seeing the guys just made it worth it.”

    There’s also the Black and Gold’s cap situation, which is downright ugly, and would undoubtedly force Krejci to take another low-money, bonus-laden contract. But those cap issues also create legitimate doubt when it comes to the Bruins’ ability to truly run it back with a squad as deep as the one Krejci saw dominate the league for 65 wins.

    “I really thought this was the year,” Krejci said. “If you look at the goalies, what a year they’ve had. We’ve had good defensemen right, but all of them all together it’s like yeah, it was insane. How deep we were at forward. I think everybody stepped in at some point and that’s what you need in the playoffs. It just ended the way it did.”

  • 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)

  • But after a 2022 headlined by a ‘will he or won’t he?’ when it came to a potential and eventual return to Boston, Krejci does not plan on leaving the Bruins for too long this time around.

    “I’m going to go home soon [and] talk to my family, but I definitely want to make a decision soon,” Krejci noted. “I want to get away from this because everything’s really raw right now, and I don’t want to make any decision that I am going to regret.

    “I just got to get away from everything and really clear my head, think some things over, [and] figure it out.”

    Krejci, who hit the 1,000-game mark with the Bruins this past season, has recorded 231 goals and 786 points in 1,032 career games with the Bruins. His 555 assists are the fifth-most in franchise history, while his 786 points rank ninth on Boston’s all-time scoring leaderboard.

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