BOSTON – Jim Montgomery acknowledged it took somewhat little bit of time to totally perceive David Krejci.
The long-time centerman may be powerful to crack – an attribute that has served him properly in 16 seasons on the ice – as he navigates the dressing room with a relaxed, cool, and generally unassuming method.
However as soon as Krejci enables you to in, as Montgomery has found, the persona comes flowing out.
“It took a short while to interrupt down the partitions,” mentioned Montgomery. “He’s very humorous. Once we had been in Anaheim, he scored that aim the place he snapped one. I advised him, ‘I did not know you had a bottom-hand, forehand.’
“He mentioned, ‘There’s loads you do not know about me.’ He is very fast witted. What makes him a lot enjoyable to be round is how good an individual he’s. His teammates love him.”
What everybody who has watched his profession with the Black & Gold does learn about David Krejci is he is one of many biggest gamers to ever don the Spoked-B. The Czechia native ranks within the membership’s high 10 all-time in a lot of classes: sixth in assists (535), seventh in video games performed (999), ninth in factors (761), and third in playoff scoring (124 factors).
And on Monday afternoon, Krejci will develop into the seventh participant in group historical past to play 1,000 profession video games with the membership.
“I am not shocked that he is attaining this milestone as a result of he is been in a position to be so profitable and so elite for thus lengthy. Kudos to him for placing within the work all these years to be at his finest,” mentioned Patrice Bergeron, one of many different seven gamers to swimsuit up for 1,000 video games in Black & Gold.
For the previous decade and a half, Bergeron and Krejci have been facet by facet, forming one of many NHL’s finest 1-2 middle mixtures for a lot of that point. And whereas Bergeron acknowledges there has at all times been a wholesome competitors between the 2, they’ve embraced the possibility to push one another to be higher.
“I feel on lots of groups, or whichever sport it’s, I feel there’d be lots of butting heads and stuff, particularly whenever you’re enjoying the identical place as somebody for thus lengthy,” mentioned Bergeron. “I really feel like we have at all times had that wholesome competitors and at all times had that mutual respect the place we all know how good the opposite man is and the way helpful they’re to the group and the group.
“Krech is that. He goes about his enterprise, he does his work, and he is simply joyful for many who do properly as properly. He desires the outcome, he desires to win, similar to I do.”
The 2 have additionally shaped an indelible bond off the ice, as they helped to create a tradition of respect, dedication, and success throughout the Bruins’ dressing room.
“That connection and relationship has been a deal with for me,” mentioned Bergeron. “It has been lots of enjoyable to have him round and to have him as a pal, to have him as a teammate, to study from him, too, as a participant. A few of the issues that he does which are so laborious to duplicate however you continue to attempt to study a factor or two from his recreation and attempt to put it in your recreation. It has been lots of enjoyable. It has been a pleasure.”
Krejci’s resume speaks for itself. Along with his all-time membership rankings, he has additionally led the membership in playoff scoring twice, throughout Boston’s runs to the Stanley Cup Closing in each 2011 and 2013. His feed to Nathan Horton on the lone aim in Recreation 7 of the 2011 Jap Convention Closing in opposition to the Lightning is the stuff of legends.
“You can begin together with his previous, his playoff performances, particularly within the Cup run,” mentioned Jake DeBrusk. “Simply all the pieces that he contributed to this group, with not solely his recreation and the way expert and the way affected person he’s, but in addition as an individual. I received to satisfy him on the latter half of that, I assume. He helped me a lot once I first got here in. I used to be enjoying with him as a rookie and to show me the ropes of what it was prefer to be a Boston Bruin.”
Regardless of his prolonged record of accomplishments, there are occasions that the 36-year-old appears to fly below the radar – each in his method and the way he his appreciated by some on the skin.
“He is a kind of guys when the second is large, he at all times steps up and is ready to thrive below strain,” mentioned Brad Marchand. “In our large runs, he is at all times led the group in scoring, scored some large time beyond regulation objectives on the proper time. He is simply a kind of guys, he is not overly flashy with the best way he does issues. He isn’t the quickest man or the toughest shot. His capacity to sluggish performs down and make it look really easy out there’s unbelievable.
“He is so constant. I feel that is what you search for in a very good NHL participant is the consistency each night time. He has that each night time. He at all times exhibits up and he at all times involves play. We have been very lucky to have him and Bergy as our 1-2 facilities for the final 15 years.
“He is one of many guys whenever you look again on the successful group, the final 15 years, he is a staple identify. I feel he is at all times been so underrated to everyone however the guys on this room. While you watch what he is in a position to do each single day, you actually see how gifted he’s and the expertise degree that he has.”
Montgomery likened Krejci to Bergeron in that whereas his statistics aren’t at all times probably the most eye-popping, his particulars have at all times been elite.
“He is similar to Bergy within the sense that it is not simply pure numbers that replicate worth to our group,” mentioned Montgomery. “He is cool, calm, he is extraordinarily poised, he makes passes that I do not see from the bench, and that is a credit score to his creativity, but in addition how aggressive he’s.
“He is actually aggressive, and you do not see it demonstratively loads on the ice – generally it happens. He cares about successful faceoffs; he cares about being put in defensive conditions as a result of he has lots of delight, and he is aware of he is good in all these areas.
“I am grateful for the chance to work with him simply because he is so cerebral and I like how aggressive he’s. There is a burning fireplace inside him to be elite. You couple that with the creativity and that is why he is such a particular participant.”
Marchand has seen Krejci’s drive and work ethic firsthand for properly over a decade now, which has helped encourage and inspire him since early in his Bruins profession.
“One of many issues that I used to be impressed most with with him early on once I first got here up was, I received to coach with him and I noticed how laborious he labored and the way a lot effort he put in within the summertime,” mentioned Marchand. “I used to be at all times actually impressed by him. It is really been an honor to play alongside him and play with him. And we might not have had the success we have had over the past 10-15 years if it wasn’t for him.”
DeBrusk, in the meantime, has additionally benefitted from Krejci’s tutelage. When the winger first broke into the league in 2017-18, he was Krejci’s left winger, a place that he remained in for a number of seasons earlier than the centerman departed the Bruins following the 2020-21 marketing campaign.
“He was somebody that I might lean on,” mentioned DeBrusk. “I clearly had a number of questions being bright-eyed. I feel that was one of many greatest issues. I at all times felt comfy round him. He grabbed me fairly early on in coaching camp and simply made it identified that we had been gonna be collectively and we’re gonna work via it and work out methods to have as a lot success as doable.
“I feel that simply constructed our chemistry and simply the sort of man he’s off the ice actually complemented me properly, sort of calmed me down. Once I thought the world was ending at sure instances, he’d be there to calm me down and assist me concentrate on the subsequent shift.”
Krejci additionally helps to lighten the temper. Whereas his humorousness is usually refined and understated, it’s equally impactful in its timing and impact.
“Attending to befriend Krech, studying about him, who he’s, I feel he has among the best personalities of anybody I’ve ever identified,” mentioned Charlie McAvoy. “He is humorous, he at all times retains issues gentle. He is received an excellent perspective about exhibiting as much as work and dealing laborious however ensuring you are having enjoyable with all the pieces you do.
“Undoubtedly somebody who helps the group all through instances whenever you undoubtedly want somewhat uplift, somebody who’s simply very particular general…Krech means a lot to this group, to this group, all the pieces that he is been in a position to obtain since he is been right here. I feel there’s loads to be mentioned about him enjoying his whole 1,000-game profession with one franchise, not one thing that many guys are in a position to do. He is somebody who’s irreplaceable to the Boston Bruins.”
That has by no means been extra obvious than this season. After spending the 2021-22 marketing campaign enjoying for Olomouc in his native Czechia, Krejci returned to the Bruins on a one-year contract over the summer time for his 16th season with the Black & Gold.
“It has been much more enjoyable this 12 months having Krech again. It is simply not the identical on the bench, across the room,” mentioned Marchand. “He is one of many funniest individuals I’ve ever met. His dry humorousness, his one-liners are by far the very best I’ve ever seen. He simply makes all the pieces enjoyable.
“The depth he provides to our group is unbelievable, and simply his expertise, he is so calm on a regular basis, at all times having lots of enjoyable. You may see how a lot he enjoys being again, how a lot enjoyable he is having.
“It is actually particular to have him again right here for one more run. Hopefully we are able to benefit from it.”