A soft-spoken stalwart with Bruins, David Krejci let his play do the speaking on hockey’s brightest levels

Bruins

“It’s virtually like he doesn’t really feel any emotion in anyway, good or unhealthy.”

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) celebrates after tying the game at 4-4 with the Bruins trailing the Wild by two goals before they scored two to tie in the final minutes of the third period.
David Krejci commonly delivered within the clutch for the Bruins over his 16 seasons in Boston. Barry Chin / Globe Workers

COMMENTARY 

For near a century now, a team-wide id of snarl and dimension has been woven into the material that makes up the Spoked-B sweater.

David Krejci, nevertheless, was reduce from a distinct material.

On an Authentic Six franchise the place devastating left hooks doled out by the likes of Lucic and O’Reilly earned simply as many cheers as a dangle-laden tally, Krejci projected a poised, reserved profile.

In contrast to fan favorites with a penchant for mischief and post-whistle fracas like Brad Marchand or Shawn Thornton, Krejci was a relaxing sight amid the organized chaos erupting round him out on the frozen sheet.

In distinction to towering juggernauts like Zdeno Chara, Krejci was by no means an imposing bodily presence on the ice.

He opted to make opponents pay by the use of a momentum-shifting saucer move, reasonably than a bucket-ringing examine towards the glass.

The Sternberk, Czech Republic native was by no means the quickest skater on the ice, nor did he wield the identical one-time howitzer that his fellow countryman, David Pastrnak, possessed.

Even down the center, Krejci was usually working backstage on Boston’s depth chart — with Patrice Bergeron drawing most eyes towards him because the group’s vocal chief and two-way maestro.

However in crunch time, few might orchestrate performs below strain like Krejci — the cerebral middle whose cool demeanor was matched solely by the ice in his veins when the lights shined the brightest.

And in a metropolis the place legacies are measured by banners, Krejci usually let his play do the speaking.

“In these huge moments, you go searching you’ll be able to really feel the strain on the bench and within the stands and within the coaches and gamers. You take a look at him, and he’s simply form of hanging out,” Brad Marchand stated of Krejci again in January. “It’s virtually like he doesn’t really feel any emotion in anyway, good or unhealthy.”

The 37-year-old Krejci introduced his official retirement from the NHL on Monday morning, hanging up his skates after 1,032 video games — all with the Bruins.

Chara’s arrival in 2006 represented a crucial sea change for a rudderless Bruins franchise. Tim Thomas’ stalwart displaying between the pipes paved the best way for Boston’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

However it was the 1-2 punch of Bergeron and Krejci down the center that served because the bedrock for Boston to construct a perennial contending roster for near 20 years. Throughout Krejci’s 16 seasons in Boston, the Bruins did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs solely thrice. 

“I’m grateful for the chance to work with him, simply because he’s so cerebral,” Jim Montgomery stated of Krejci earlier this season. “I really like how aggressive he’s. There’s a burning hearth inside him to be elite. You then couple that with creativity. That’s why he’s such a particular participant.”

Krejci’s bodily instruments might not set him other than many NHLers. However his processing means with the puck on his stick gave him a bonus that few might replicate.

In a recreation the place Grade-A appears and game-breaking errors are sometimes carried out in split-second sequences, Krejci appeared to bend time and physics to his will when holding onto the biscuit.

Relatively than skate north-south, Krejci hovered east-west within the offensive zone, lurking close to the outer layer of an opponent’s defensive protection searching for faults of their armor.

His crisp passing allowed different top-six skills like Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, and Jarome Iginla to thrive all through their varied tenures in Boston.

Later in his profession, Krejci was oftentimes handed the unenviable activity of driving play with out a lot stability on his line. Through the 2018-19 season, Krejci tied a career-high with 73 factors — regardless of logging at the very least quarter-hour of ice time with 14 completely different line combos.

His crisp passing allowed him to rack up 555 assists — the fifth-most in Bruins historical past. Solely eight different Bruins recorded extra factors than him (786).

However Krejci’s legacy in Boston doesn’t revolve across the stat traces posted from October by way of early April.

When the calendar flipped to spring, the mild-mannered Krejci was commonly the conduit behind the cacophony of cheers erupting from the TD Backyard seats above him.

He buried four-game winners en path to Boston’s long-awaited Stanley Cup title in 2011, though his biggest contribution was his late-game dissection of Man Boucher’s stingy 1-3-1 protection in Recreation 7 of the Japanese Convention Finals.

After posting a league-leading 23 playoff factors in 2011, Krejci adopted that up by pacing the NHL with 26 factors over 22 video games throughout Boston’s run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Ultimate.

Even in 2019, when he had a carousel of wingers like Karson Kuhlman and David Backes stapled to his proper, Krejci posted 16 factors through the B’s newest run to a title.

As accidents and the inevitable decay of Father Time sapped him of his playmaking capabilities in late April, Krejci nonetheless put forth a three-point recreation in what stood as his closing contest with Boston in Recreation 7 towards the Panthers.

Krejci completed his profession with 128 factors in 160 playoff video games. Krejci is tied together with his longtime teammates in Bergeron and Marchand for second all-time in postseason scoring in franchise historical past, trailing solely Ray Bourque (161).

“I don’t actually take note of that, to be trustworthy with you,” Krejci stated of his “Playoff Krech” moniker in Might 2021. “I don’t take a look at the web a lot. I’m simply attempting to give attention to every recreation. No matter occurs the sport earlier than, I neglect about it and prepare for the subsequent one.”

All through his profession, Krejci opted to shirk away from the highlight.

He was by no means the focus of the Bruins’ prolonged competition window, nor was he probably the most bombastic presence. Most reward heaped his means was usually deflected towards his teammates.

However for 16 years, few athletes in Boston persistently delivered on the very best stage fairly like Krejci.

And amongst that sparse grouping, none did it with extra aplomb than Krejci.

Minimize from a distinct material? Little question.

However when his No. 46 sweater hangs from the Backyard rafters amongst different Bruins legends in due time, one can be hard-pressed to identify the distinction.


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