- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- David Krejci was back on the ice Friday with his Bruins teammates for the first time since heading over to his native Czech Republic to play for HC Pardubice during the lockout, and the 26-year-old pivot said he was aware of the persistent rumors about a possible trade to Phoenix or Anaheim. But he made it clear, as he did last season when the rumors started, that he wants to remain a Bruin.
“I’ve seen it and I have time to go on the Internet, so I know what’s going on,” Krejci said. “I went through lots of things and saw my name there, but there’s nothing I can control. I am happy here, and I hope I haven’t given them any reasons to trade me. So I can’t control it, and I just want to go out there and play my best.”
Krejci scored a career-high 23 goals last season and equaled his 2010-11 total of 62 points (his career high in points came in 2008-09, when he had 73). But he also had long stretches of futility and then struggled with just three points in seven games in the Bruins’ first-round loss to Washington. It was a far cry from his 23 points in 25 games in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run, and with his struggles came numerous trade rumors. Given the team’s depth at center and Krejci’s cap-friendly contract (three years left at $5.2 million), media and fans pegged Krejci as expendable if the Bruins need to shed salary from their $68.8 million cap hit against the $70 million NHL salary cap this season, or even more when the cap goes down next season with the new CBA.
Krejci, however, is determined to quiet those rumors and move on from the frustration of last spring.
“Last year is behind me now. I’ve already played some games so I’ve forgotten about it,” Krejci said. “I just want to have a good start to the season just like the rest of the team.”
While frustration from last season faded over the summer and into the fall, Krejci felt the same frustration that all NHL players and fans felt as the lockout wore on. It reached the point that Krejci decided to just block out the lockout news from North America and his local media and focus on preparing for a possible season.
“In Czech [Republic], many times it seemed like we were close to a deal, and the Czech media a big deal about it but nothing happened,” Krejci said. “After a few times, I kind of let it go. I was playing hockey there so I just focused on my game.”
Now that a new CBA agreement has been reached, his sole focus is on the Bruins and helping them get back to the top. One thing Krejci is specifically focused on is rekindling the chemistry between him and his regular linemates, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, who is healthy again after recovering from a concussion suffered almost a year ago.
“[Lucic and Horton] looked pretty good today. I’m sure they kept themselves in good shape,” said Krejci. “They’re fast skaters and they play a tough, north-south game. I’m going to have to try keeping up with them. Nathan looks ready and I’m excited to see him back out there.”
With a shortened 48-game season, a good start for the Bruins will be imperative. Krejci believes the layoff has his team hungry to start playing and winning.
“Everybody is going to be hungry in the NHL. Every team is going to be hungry,” said Krejci. “We’re just going to have to be hungrier than they will be. From what I saw today, guys are hungry and excited, so hopefully we can get off to a good start and go from there.”