|Bruins can’t wait for their next test: Sidney Crosby and the East-leading Penguins||12.05.11 at 10:42 am ET|
It’s the perfect test at the perfect time.
The Bruins have rebounded from a 3-7-0 start and are the hottest team in the NHL. They have 13 of 14 and are unbeaten in regulation since Oct. 29 in Montreal.
The Penguins are the top team in the East and have been the best team in the conference since the start of the season.
Now the top two teams in the conference meet in tonight in Pittsburgh.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for us,” said Chris Kelly, who scored the game-winner on Saturday night. “They are playing extremely well. They have their best player back and he seems like he hasn’t missed a beat. It will be an exciting game for us.”
Of course, the “best player” to whom Kelly refers is Sidney Crosby. He returned from his post-concussion symptoms on Nov. 21 with two goals in a 5-0 win over the Islanders. He hasn’t scored since but he does have 10 assists and the Pens are 5-1-1 in the seven games with him back in the lineup.
“It’s going to be a big game,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “We haven’t faced them this season yet. Obviously they’ve got a healthy team now. I’m sure it’s going to be a good game.”
Tonight marks the first of four games between the last two Eastern Conference teams who have won the Stanley Cup. The Penguins won on Detroit’s home ice in Game 7 in 2009 while the Bruins accomplished the same feat back on June 15 in Vancouver.
Is this is a “measuring stick” game for the defending champion B’s?
“I think we’re approaching- we’ve got the right mind set going into every game right now,” new pugilist Joe Corvo said. “I feel like we’re playing the same way every game and we’re being super consistent and if we don’t at some point in the game, it gets corrected. I think it’s obviously a good test, they’re in first place so it’ll be an exciting game.”
With a regulation win, the Bruins will be just one point out of the top spot in the East, 15 games after being in the cellar.
“We want to get up there in the standings and this is a game for first place so it’s going to be a big one,” David Krejci said.
There will be no rest after the game, either. The Bruins hop on a plane and go halfway across the continent for a Tuesday night game in Winnipeg.
|Quick notes from the David Krejci press conference||12.01.11 at 1:42 pm ET|
Newly extended Bruins center David Krejci‘s press conference just wrapped up at TD Garden. Here are a few quick notes, with more to come.
– Krejci’s deal, a three-year $15.75 million deal with a limited no-trade clause in the final two years, was actually signed prior to Wednesday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Peter Chiarelli joked that he likes to think it put Krejci in the right frame of mind to go out and rack up three points in the win over Toronto.
– Krejci said that he isn’t going to worry about whether he is judged by his contract. Considering he’s being paid like a first-line center, it seems that judgement will be pretty common over the length of the deal.
– Chiarelli spoke glowingly of Krejci as a two-way player.
“David’s biggest asset is his head,” Chiarelli said. “He sees the ice so well. He makes plays, he uses the players around him. He’s very competitive. He’s got a very well-rounded game.
“I think his game is underrated by its two-way component. He’s got a lot of really good offensive skills and instincts, but I think the two-way component of the game — I don’t want to harp on that — but it’s important if you want to win championships.”
“Logjam is probably not the proper word,” Chiarelli said. “I think it’s an excessive supply that I’m happy to have.”
– Chiarelli also scoffed at the notion that committing this money to Krejci might make it tougher to re-sign upcoming RFA’s Tuukka Rask (at the end of this season) and Tyler Seguin (at the end of next season).
– The GM said that these negotiations weren’t based on this season too much, as they had begun over the summer. He did note, however, that he didn’t consider the first month of the season in his long-term assessment of Krejci, saying that such thinking would be “shortsighted.”
|Bruins give David Krejci three-year extension||at 10:01 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday morning that they have signed center David Krejci to a three-year extension. According to TSN, Krejci, who would have been a restricted free agent at season’s end, will get $5.25 million a year with his new deal. The 25-year-old is in the final year of a deal that pays him $3.75 million a year.
The new deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, according to TSN. Krejci could block a trade to six teams.
Krejci’s signing takes care of what would have been the team’s biggest financial question mark at season’s end. The B’s also re-signed Rich Peverley in October to prevent him from reaching free agency, and with Krejci now signed, Tuukka Rask (restricted) and Chris Kelly (unrestricted) may be bumped up to the top of general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s to-do list. Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Joe Corvo and Johnny Boychuk are also set to become unrestricted free agents.
The new contract will also make Krejci the highest-paid forward on the Bruins, and the second-highest paid Bruin. Captain Zdeno Chara‘s deal has an annual cap hit of $6.916 cap hit.
The signing comes the morning after Krejci led the way in Boston’s 6-3 win over Toronto Wednesday. The first-line center had three points (1 G, 2 A) in the victory. The Bruins drafted Krejci in the second round of the 2004 draft. In his NHL career, he has 62 goals and 165 assists for 227 points. He led the postseason in scoring during last spring’s Stanley Cup run.
|David Krejci, Bruins know they ‘didn’t deserve to win’||11.18.11 at 9:08 am ET|
He may have tricked Curtis Sanford on the decisive goal of the shootout that gave the Bruins a 2-1 win over the lowly Blue Jackets Thursday night at TD Garden, but David Krejci wasn’t fooling anyone after the team’s seventh straight win.
This was a game in which the Bruins were outworked and outmuscled. But in the end, they found a way to get the two points.
They’ll take it.
“Yeah, I don’t know if we deserve this win tonight but we’ll take it,” Krejci said. “I think games like that happens sometimes and I think we battled through it and we got our two points, so we’ll take that.”
The Bruins led the Jackets 6-5 in shots after 20 minutes but then hit the wall of walls in the second, getting outshot 14-8 on their home ice and looking like a tired team that was finishing up a five-game homestand against a team that had won just three times in 17 previous tries.
“Yeah, well, I guess we kind of thought it was going to be an easy game but it wasn’t,” Krejci said. “They came here to play and they were really hard on their sticks and they were winning lots of battles, so I don’t think we were ready for that. So, it was a very tough game and, you know, like I said, I don’t think we deserved to win tonight but we’ll take the two points.”
Was it fatigue?
“Yeah, it could be,” the game’s hero said. “Maybe it — last week — especially the last few games, they were really hard and took lots of energy out of us so maybe it looked like it, but like I said, we still — the effort was still there, we still battled through it and at the end of the night we had our two points so we’re happy about that.”
As for his game-winner through the legs of Sanford, Krejci said he was just glad he wasn’t facing Tuukka Rask.
“I knew what I’m going to do,” Krejci said. “Obviously, we practiced some things. With Tuukks, we do shootouts at the end of the practice but Tuukks knows me pretty well in the last few years so it’s kind of hard to score. But these other goalies, they don’t know what I do, so I knew exactly what I’m going to do and it worked this time.”
And the lesson learned Thursday for the defending Stanley Cup champs?
“Well, don’t take anybody lightly,” Krejci said. “You know, to end a streak — you can lose against the last-place team, you can beat badly the first-place team. Just don’t take anybody lightly and just play your game. I think that’s what we have to do from now on.”
|Steven Kampfer likely to make season debut, David Krejci a game-time decision||10.20.11 at 12:11 pm ET|
David Krejci will be a game-time decision against the Maple Leafs Thursday night, with defenseman Steven Kampfer “likely” to play and Adam McQuaid out, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate.
Krejci has been out since injuring his core in last Tuesday’s practice but has returned to skating and practicing with the team this week. If he is to play, he will likely skate on a line with Rich Peverley and either Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot. Julien also indicated that lines could be changed if Krejci does not play, but Peverley has centered the third line with Caron and Pouliot at points in practice over the last two days.
Kampfer suffered a left knee sprain in the team’s Sept. 29 preseason game agaisnt the Senators. With the Bruins sending Matt Bartkowski to Providence and McQuaid still out with a neck injury (he did not participate in morning skate), the indication is that Kampfer will play.
“Medically I’m cleared for contact and everything like that,” Kampfer said after the morning skate. “‘¦ Obvioiusly it’s [Julien’s] call what the deal is for today, but I’m going to prepare as if I’m going to play.”
Should something go wrong with Kampfer during the day, Julien said the Bruins would call someone up from Providence.
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, meaning he is expected to get the start against Toronto.
|David Krejci not taking any chances, still not pushing 100 percent||10.19.11 at 2:01 pm ET|
Bruins center David Krejci seems to be proceeding with caution above all else as he works his way back from a core injury suffered last Tuesday in practice. He is back to taking contact and skating with a new line, but he said after practice that he has no plans of rushing back if he isn’t ready.
“If I can, I would love to play tomorrow, but I have to be smart about it. I don’t want to make it worse and be out for who knows how long. If I feel better tomorrow, then I’d love to play and that’s where we’re at I guess.”
Wednesday marked Krejci’s third straight day of skating, and second with him teammates. Krejci skated by himself prior to Monday’s practice and took part in Tuesday’s morning skate. He took some contact Wednesday but has yet to simulate the intensity and physicality of an actual game.
“I was doing some contact drills, but I don’t think anybody really hit me,” Krejci said. “If I feel better tomorrow, then I’ll ask a couple guys to do a little corner stuff and I guess we’ll decide tomorrow if I’ll play.”
Coach Claude Julien did not disagree with Krejci calling himself 50-50 for Thursday, but from how cautious both the player and the team seem to be on the matter, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Krejci wait until Saturday.
“It’s a really hard decision. yesterday I skated for the first time with the guys, and it was just a morning skate,” Krejci said. “Today was a real practice and I pushed it a little harder. I can’t say that I pushed it 100 percent, but I felt pretty good about the way things went this morning. Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and if I feel good, I’ll push it 100 percent, and who knows? I might play tomorrow.”
|Tuukka Rask off first, David Krejci participates in morning skate||10.18.11 at 11:01 am ET|
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice at Tuesday’s morning skate, an indication that he will be in net when the B’s face the Hurricanes at the Garden. Rask lost his lone start of the season, allowing one goal in the B’s 1-0 loss to the Avalanche last Monday.
David Krejci (core) took part in the morning skate, marking the first time he’s been on the ice with teammates since leaving last Tuesday’s practice.