WILMINGTON — David Krejci has been on the ice doing some light skating drills for the last week, and said on Monday afternoon that he wasn’t ruling out a return to the lineup for Boston Bruins opening night on Oct. 1 after offseason hip surgery.
Krejci was part of a skeleton B’s crew — that included Shawn Thornton, Marco Sturm, Tuukka Rask and Kevin Regan — who took part in the first day of informal Black and Gold practices at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. The crafty playmaker led the NHL in +/- last season and won the Bruins 7th Player Award, and is recovering quickly from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
“It’s a process. I wish I was going at 100 percent, but I’m probably going 65, 70, 75 percent right now,” said Krejci. “I just started skating, but no November. October. We’re talking October (for a return). I would say maybe mid-October, but it’s hard to say because I just started skating. It’ll be October for sure”
Krejci said he won’t be ready for full-time drills with the rest of his team when the big hockey club starts official training camp on Sept. 12, but the 23-year-old hasn’t ruled out returning to full health in time for opening night at the TD Garden against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1.
“Who knows? I might be ready. Who knows? But I just started skating and if I’m ready to play first game then I’ll play. But I don’t want to rush it. I’d rather miss a few games than be out for half of the year. There’s no point to rushing it.”
Krejci has consulted with Bruins trainer Scotty Waugh in his recovery while working out diligently over the summer, and appears to have added some muscle to his lithe frame. The center has also been comparing notes with B’s goaltender — and Southie native — Kevin Regan, who underwent a labrum hip surgery of his just months before Krejci went under the knife. The key has been slow and steady for Krejci, who stayed in Boston for much of the summer and made it over to the Newbury Street-area restaurants for most of the summer.
“Scotty Waugh told me that Mike Lowell had surgery on his hip, and he (Lowell) called me two months after surgery and said he feels great,” said Krejci. “Obviously it’s good to see another athlete have the surgery and keep playing. He’s playing all right and it’s been healing very well. Kevin Regan also had same surgery, and he got it a couple of months before me. So I’ve been asking him how it feels after a few months, and where he is at every few weeks. So it’s good.”
–Marco Sturm also took a few twirls on the practice ice Monday morning, and said his surgically repaired left knee (ACL, meniscus surgery) feels “much better” than it did during the July announcement of the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. The German scorer didn’t anticipate having any problems with his left knee or being at full-strength to begin training camp, and wouldn’t have any limitations when things pick up on Sept. 12.
“I’ve started skating the last two weeks with my old team, and the first week was just okay. Last week was much better and much more comfortable, and we’ll go from there I guess,” said Sturm. “Practice the last two weeks has been full-out with one-on-ones and everything. It’s just timing and that’s all.
“I’m really excited to be back and glad to be skating with the guys again. It was good. Guys are coming in the next few days and I’m looking forward to having some fun. Being around the guys and playing hockey were the things you really miss watching on TV.”