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David Krejci respects Pavel Datsyuk’s decision, plans to finish career in Czech Republic

04.11.16 at 1:44 pm ET
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Like Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci plans to eventually move home. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Like Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci plans to eventually move home. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Pavel Datsyuk rocked the hockey world over the weekend by confirming that he will leave the Red Wings and the NHL after the playoffs.

The 37-year-old Datsyuk has chosen to go back to Russia for family reasons; he will play in the KHL so he can be reunited with his teenage daughter. The three-time Selke winner’s decision will hurt the Red Wings in more ways than just his absence, however, as his $7.5 million cap hit will still count against the team’s salary cap figure next season because his contract began when he was over 35 years old.

David Krejci understands Datsyuk’s decision, as he does not plan to finish his career in the NHL either. Krejci, who has just concluded the first season of a six-year, $43.5 million contract, plans to go back to his native country of the Czech Republic after his deal expires.

“That’s where I grew up. That’s where I learned how to skate, and from a family standpoint, I’m the only guy here,” Krejci told WEEI.com Monday. “Now, I created my own family — they’re American — but it would be nice to show my kid, or kids in five, six years, where I’m from. By the time [my deal expires], I’ll be 35. If I have one more NHL season in me, then I would play, but no matter when or how, if I’ll be 36 or 38 or 39, I want to finish my career back home.”

If Krejci were to leave early, the Bruins would not be charged with his cap hit, but that figures to be a moot point given that Krejci says he intends to play out his contract. As such, Krejci’s eventual departure will be far less controversial than Datsyuk’s.

“I respect his decision,” Krejci said. “He’s been here a long time, and I heard that he’s got a teenage daughter living back home. Now I have a daughter of my own, so I know how hard it must be to be away. It’s not like he’s in his 20s or something; he’s in his late 30s, so sometimes you have to know there’s a time.

“I’m pretty sure no matter how old you are, family is the most important thing, but when you get older you kind of realize it a little bit, you appreciate spending time with your family more than if you’re a teenager or in your 20s. [Then], you just want to be with your buddies and having fun, but when you have kids, you always pick your family over going out with your buddies or going golfing with your buddies. I respect his decision.”

Brad Marchand to play for Team Canada in World Championships

04.11.16 at 1:06 pm ET
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Brad Marchand will play for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships next month in Russia, the forward revealed Monday at TD Garden.

Marchand is coming off a career year in which he scored a career-high 37 goals and totaled 60 points for the Bruins. This season, Marchand’s sixth full season in the NHL, marked the first time he reached 30 goals or 60 points.

The tournament starts on May 6.

 

Tuukka Rask: ‘When you’re sick, you’re sick’

04.11.16 at 12:25 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask

Meeting with the media for the final time this season, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask discussed the illness that kept him out of Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Rask missed Boston’s 82nd game of the season, something of a must-win that they eventually lost in a 6-1 drubbing, due to a stomach bug. The former Vezina-winner said that he became ill on Friday night and “spent the night in the bathroom” before realizing Saturday morning that he wouldn’t be able to play. He took warmups Saturday as the team waiting for emergency recall Jeremy Smith to arrive, though he stayed down on the ice for the majority of warmups.

“When you’re sick, you’re sick,” Rask said. “Trust me: If I felt there was a chance that I could help the team, I would have gone out there, but I couldn’t even stand up.”

Jonas Gustavsson played in Rask’s place, with Smith serving as the backup. Rask spent much of the game at the Garden sleeping.

“It was terrible, obviously,” Rask said. “But you can’t control it. That sucks, but it’s life. When it happens at the worst possible time, it just happens and you have to just take.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

As for Sunday night’s discussion as to whether he was eating chicken wings on Saturday, Rask reiterated that he was not at Buff’s Pub Friday or Saturday.

Rask has played three seasons of an eight-year, $56 million deal. Though he said he would “absolutely” want to stay in Boston even if the team were rebuilding, he said he would consider waiving his no-movement clause if the Bruins tried to trade him. Rask has full no-movement rights through next season before they’re reduced to a partial no-trade.

“I doubt that’s going to happen,” Rask said when asked about potentially being traded. “I’m here for the long run. I want to help this team get back on track, and that’s where my heads at, but if you weren’t wanted, what can you do?”

David Krejci to have hip surgery, other Bruins reveal injuries

04.11.16 at 12:04 pm ET
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David Krejci

David Krejci

David Krejci said at Monday’s year-end media availability that he will have hip surgery to repair an issue that has plagued him for the last two seasons.

Krejci first suffered the injury in the final preseason game before the 2014-15 season and was in and out of the lineup over the course of the season. Though Krejci has dealt with other injuries over the past two seasons — a knee injury last season, a shoulder injury this season — correcting the hip is his priority as he begins the offseason.

“It’s been bothering me for 20 or so games,” Krejci said of the hip. “But we have a good medical staff here, and they got me through games, so I felt like I was still in decent shape to play games and help the team, and there’s been game where I’ve felt pretty good. So, I was able to finish the season [and was] ready to play playoff games.”

Added Krejci: “I’m looking at it kind of two ways. One is, yeah, it’s been a nagging injury from last year and missing that half a season. And then this year, I felt maybe the best I ever felt my first 50 games, and then I missed some games because of my shoulder injury, and after I came back, it was never the same. And the hip, the nagging injury kind of kept coming back, and it got to the point that we’ve been talking surgery for a while now.”

The surgery will be the same procedure Krejci had in 2009, when Dr. Brian Kelly repaired a hip impingement. Kelly will also be doing Krejci’s upcoming procedure, which Krejci said will happen “in the next week or two.”

Playing in 72 games this season, Krejci had 17 goals and 46 assists for 63 points this season.

In other injury news, Brett Connolly revealed that it was a sprained MCL that kept him out of the Bruins’ last five games, while Dennis Seidenberg missed the final five games of the season due to a strained adductor. Neither Connolly nor Seidenberg will require surgery.

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Claude Julien, Bruins management not listed for breakup day availability

04.10.16 at 7:09 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Sunday that they will hold their annual year-end availability Monday at TD Garden, but it came with an interesting twist. Then again, it wouldn’t be the 2015-16 Bruins without something being off.

Breakup day typically consists of player availability followed by a press conference with the coach and general manager. Sunday’s announcement made mention of only players, however. Reached for clarification as to whether or not Claude Julien, Don Sweeney and/or Cam Neely would be available, Bruins media relations noted that the only confirmed availability was for players. Bruins vice president of communications Matt Chmura added that the current schedule does not mean definitively mean that Boston’s leadership won’t be available Monday, but that nothing with the media was currently planned regarding the trio.

It’s worth noting that both Julien and then-GM Peter Chiarelli were both available at last season’s breakup day. At the time, Chiarelli said that things were “business as usual until we hear otherwise.” Chiarelli was fired two days later.

Someone made a mean and hilarious Crying Jordan Bobby Orr Photoshop

04.09.16 at 9:40 pm ET
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I’m a dinosaur and don’t see any funny internet things unless Pete Blackburn makes them, but get a load of this:

Bruins blame pie: Patrice Bergeron says it’s ‘definitely not on’ Claude Julien

04.09.16 at 7:13 pm ET
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Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired has already begun. (USA Today Sports)

Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired already has begun. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The “Should Claude Julien be fired” talk had already begun even before Saturday, but with the Bruins missing the playoffs for a second straight year and getting absolutely embarrassed on home ice in their season finale, it’s only going to pick up.

Most Bruins players weren’t willing to make any sort of comment on the possibility of Julien being fired after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators given that, at the time, the B’s still had an outside shot of making the playoffs (the Flyers’ win over the Penguins later Saturday officially sealed their fate). But the team’s best and most important player came to the defense of Julien.

“I’ve said a million times that Claude has been the best coach I’ve had,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s definitely not on him. It should be on us. His system is there, the game plan is there. It’s about us executing, and we didn’t do that. So it should fall back on the players.”

In the case of Saturday and other games down the stretch that saw the Bruins lose to non-playoff teams, Bergeron is right that the players deserve a good chunk of the blame. There’s no excuse for making the kinds of defensive mistakes that led to Ottawa’s goals on Saturday. There’s no excuse for a top-five offense struggling to score against three non-playoff teams over the last two weeks of the season. Regardless of who the coach is or whether his message is getting through, those are things for which the players need to take responsibility.

But there is plenty of blame to go around, and yes, Julien deserves some of it. A coach should be able to do more to ensure that his team isn’t making as many mistakes as the Bruins made Saturday, whether it was getting beat wide, leaving guys uncovered in front or making bad breakout passes that were easily intercepted. Those things are coachable, and the fact that they happened this late in the season doesn’t reflect well on the coach.

The group that deserves the most blame, however, is the front office. Don Sweeney and company are the ones who built a team that had one legitimate top-four defenseman — and that one, Zdeno Chara, is 39 years old. It’s fitting that defense was the Bruins’ biggest issue on their disastrous last day, because it was their biggest issue all season, and it will remain their biggest issue going forward unless they bring in multiple defensemen who are significant upgrades over what they have now.

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