Bruins center David Krejci has come into this season, making good on some pretty high expectations.
During the tail end of the 2012-13 NHL season, the top-line playmaker for the Black and Gold proved why he is their most valuable offensive asset in the postseason. By the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs, he finished with nine goals and 17 assists.
He exploded in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, when he did the most damage. He rung up James Reimer for five goals and eight assists. However, when it came time for the Cup Finals, he fizzled out, only posting five assists in the final round.
Overall, he was still the Bruins’ best option with the puck and he has been that way ever since he started playing postseason hockey. How consistent has he been? He has led the B’s in scoring during both Stanley Cup runs. The man thrives under the pressure of the big stage.
Krejci was rewarded before the start of the 2012-13 season with a three-year contract extension, a deal which will pay him $5.25 million/per year. Despite the money and the recognition, he was dealt a curveball when the Bruins lost winger Nathan Horton in free agency. Krejci and Horton clicked impeccably on the top line, so it was going to be interesting to see just how the 27-year-old center would adjust.
Krejci, like the true professional that he is, adjusted comfortably.
With newly acquired veteran forward Jarome Iginla by his side, he currently leads the Bruins in assists (37) and points (50). He also continues to be consistent. That was always a red flag with him when it came to previous seasons. There have been two occasions this season where he has gone on two separate five-game pointless streaks (November 14-21 and January 4-14). Aside from those anomalies, he has not gone longer than one game without a point and that is a model of consistency-no coasting whatsoever.
At the conclusion of training camp for this season, Krejci was voted on by his team to wear the second “A”, which dubs him as an alternate captain. Over the course of his seven-year NHL career, he has shown great leadership both on and off the ice. It was not until recently that it has become apparent and worthy of recognition.
The Bruins organization loves to reward players who are “homegrown.” Krejci was the first selection in the second round for the team in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Ever since making his debut with the team in 2007, he has been a staple in the lineup.
He will showcase his skills for the Czech Republic in this year’s Winter Olympics over in Sochi.
There is always some sort of “hangover” when players take a break from playing the game. One can only hope that the Olympics will not dethrottle the momentum of the B’s most consistent line-Krejci, Iginla, and Milan Lucic.
When the time comes to resume the NHL season, the Bruins will be counting on their leaders to carry them to the finish line. Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Chris Kelly have been known as the faces of the organization over the last two seasons. Well, it is time to expand that list and add Krejci’s name to it.
The Bruins possess the right attitude that will take them to the Cup finals, and attitude certainly reflects leadership.