By Ethan Nash
Throughout his career, Boston Bruins second line centerman David Krejci has never received the respect he deserves. Always sitting in the shadows of Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara or Brad Marchand or, most recently, David Pastrnak, Krejci is a guy who keeps his head down and gets the job down.
He’s never been the fastest skater on the ice, he’s never been the most prominent skater on the ice, and he’s never been the flashiest skater on the ice. He glides around the rink to the point where it looks like he’s not even trying.
But above all, Krejci always makes the right play. Whether it’s a quick saucer pass to the slot, a blocked shot or a key takeaway, Krejci is the guy who gets it done.
A play that illustrates this point entirely is from last year’s Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. After a blatant missed holding call in the corner, Krejci comes from nowhere to bail out Tuukka Rask and keeps the puck out of the net at the end of the second period:
Next, let’s take a look at some numbers, shall we?
The most goals he’s scored in a regular season is 23 while the most points he’s amassed is 73 – he’s done that twice in his career. Now don’t get me wrong, those are good numbers. They’re just not the video game-esque numbers that people see the Connor McDavids and Alex Ovechkins of the hockey world rack up.
In the Bruins’ 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup runs, Krejci led the team with 23 and 26 points, respectively. In the nine games, the Bruins have played so far this postseason, Krejci is once again leading the team in scoring with three goals and seven assists after this incredible feed to Pastrnak in last night’s 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning:
In Bruins playoff history, Krejci ranks fifth in games played (141), sixth in goals (39), second in assists (74) and second in points (113). If that isn’t enough, since the 2008-09 season, Krejci has the sixth most playoff points with 108. The five players above him are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews. I’d say that’s some pretty good company to be in.
So why is Krejci so severely underappreciated?
First of all, he plays in Boston. Boston has been the most successful sports city over the past two decades, and the fans and media expect every team to win it all every year. If you’re an athlete in Boston and don’t hit 100 home runs, throw 100 touchdowns, score 100 points, or tally 100 goals every game, you’re going to be criticized.
The other reason has to do with the gauntlet of players lined up with Krejci in an attempt to provide secondary scoring. For the past couple of seasons, numerous players have slotted alongside Krejci on the wings, including Jake DeBrusk, Jack Studnicka, David Backes, Joakim Nordstrom, Anders Bjork, David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman and Ondrej Kase. Krejci has never had enough time to develop chemistry with his wingers because they change on a nightly basis. Fortunately, it looks like the Bruins may have found a solution in DeBrusk, Krejci and Kase, which has been arguably their best line so far these playoffs.
Who knows, maybe if the Bruins win the Cup this year Krejci will finally get some respect. Either way, Playoff Krech has already done more than enough to solidify himself as one of the greatest Bruins ever to lace ’em up.