|Wide ice an overseas obstacle||10.01.10 at 10:04 am ET|
BELFAST — Sprints from side to side along the blue lines and center ice at the Odyssey Arena appears to be a bit more of a tiring affair than usual for the Bruins, and it’s not because of jet lag. Because the Bruins are playing in Europe, they will have to get used to European ice, which is wider and thus makes for a more offensive game.
“You have to really adjust your defensive game,” captain Zdeno Chara said Friday. “You know that the opponent has way more ice to take. You can’t be running out of your position. You’ve got to play more as far as dots on the ice. You can’t get too carries away running to the boards.
“There’s probably an extra 10 feet on each side, so there’s going to be way more room for forwards. As a defenseman, you still have to play that structure and tight defensively.”
Though the defensemen have to be much more careful to prevent a high-scoring game, David Krejci and the forwards have enjoyed how spacious playing in the offensive zone is.
“There’s so much room,” Krejci said. “We did some drills today in the corners. Back in Boston, it’s so tight, you don’t have much room. Here, you’ve got so much room and a little more time, too. It’s going to take a little more time to get used to, so you don’t have to move [the puck] too quick. You can hold it a little bit longer — not too long — but a little longer and make some smarter plays.”
As for getting used to new ice, a new time zone, and not falling apart in the process, Nathan Horton doesn’t think the team has lost any steam since arriving at around 10:30 a.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EST).
“I think everyone felt better today,” Horton, who slept for two hours on the plane but joked that “you can’t doze off” when films such as The A-Team and the Jaden Smith remake of The Karate Kid were being shown. “I think it was a better practice overall, and I think we’re getting better every day.”
|Lucic-Krejci-Horton line surfaces||09.24.10 at 12:45 pm ET|
The Bruins split up into two groups that featured members of both of this preseason’s squads. Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask both took the ice, which is encouraging as we keep an eye on just how many days off Thomas gets as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.
Though it’s still preseason and the team likely isn’t done trying things out, the top two lines on the ice friday were Lucic-Krejci-Horton and Seguin-Bergeron-Recchi. It’s very difficult to imagine those not being the top two lines on Oct. 9 when the team opens the season in Prague against the Coyotes.
The other lines out there on Friday morning consisted of Gregory Campbell, Jamie Arniel and Brian McGrattan, as well as Jordan Caron, Ryan Spooner, and Max Sauve.
|Having lost in poker, Krejci puts extra work toward the wrist||09.16.10 at 12:57 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The six Bruins skaters that showed up to the final captain’s practice only had one target to shoot on, but David Krejci didn’t wait for Nolan Schaefer or the rest of his teammates to take the ice. Krejci, still recovering from surgery on his right wrist, made the ice his driving range early on Thursday, taking a crate of pucks and firing an estimated 100 shots against the wall.
The center admitted to having some soreness following the session, but noted that the pain came with the increased workload.
“My average is five shots at most a game,” Krejci said. “I took a hundred today.”
He took mostly wrist shots, and by the time he’d moved onto slap shots, his teammates had joined him on the ice and they broke into a very relaxed session of light offensive drills.
Asked what he made of the poor turnout, Krejci pointed to Friday’s early wakeup call for fitness testing as a reason why players would be wise to rest up. The Bruins have been keeping busy between the voluntary practice sessions, Monday’s golf tournament, and Marco Sturm’s poker tournament Wednesday night.
“I lost badly,” Krejci said of the poker tournament. With it being set up as having one Bruin per table, Krejci was fortunate that none of his teammates could knock him out. Krejci said ultimately he wasn’t concerned with winning, but that the poker players that showed up for the $250 buy-in definitely varied in skill level. The event, which featured over a dozen Bruins including Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Tuukka Rask, benefitted the Franciscan Hospital for Children.
|Light turnout for Thursday’s captains practice||at 10:31 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Captain’s practice continued for the Bruins veterans Thursday morning, but the attendance numbers were way down. A typical session has seen somewhere between 15 and 20 skaters with at least two goalies, but Thursday just seven guys on the ice total. They consisted of Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, and goaltender Nolan Schaefer. Krejci was the first one on the ice, and he spent the first few minutes out there with a crate of pucks taking wrist shots against the boards.
|No longer setting off metal detectors, David Krejci is ‘days’ away from being 100 percent||09.13.10 at 1:34 pm ET|
BOLTON — David Krejci took a few minutes to talk about his wrist, the Bruins’ much-anticipated Prague trip, and, of course, the links on Monday at the team’s annual golf tournament at The International in Bolton.
“I can skate, so I can golf,” Krejci said with a grin. The center suffered an ugly injury in the Eastern Conference semifinals when he separated his right wrist but now has every necessary procedure, including getting screws removed, in the rear view mirror.
The 24-year-old said throughout the summer that he would be fine for training camp, and he confirmed as much on Monday.
“It’s really close. Really close,” Krejci said. “We’re talking about days [until] it’s going to be 100 percent. I don’t think it’s 100 percent right now, but it’s really close.”
Krejci participated in captain’s practice last week at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Though he was still getting a feel then, he said Monday that by the time camp officially opens he’ll be able to say he’s totally healed.
“It still [hurts a little]. I can feel it sometimes when I shoot, [but] I can shoot almost 100 percent,” Krejci said. “By the camp, I think I’ll be [better].”
It’s been four weeks by Krejci’s estimation since he started putting the wrist through the usual trials. Though he’s piecing everything together in the days leading up to Friday, he’s seen enough encouraging signs to know he’ll be good to train with his teammates and use the preseason to ready himself for his third year in the league.
“I can stickhandle fine. My motion’s there. I have no problem with that. It’s a little weaker, but I’ve been working on it the last four weeks,” Krejci said. “I’m getting the muscle back, so I should be fine by the [time the] season comes.”
Here are a couple unusual notes from Krejci’s chat:
– He’s excited to walk through metal detectors at the airport with confidence. Because of the screws in his wrist that were removed about a month ago, he constantly set off the machines in his travels.
“They checked me completely,” Krejci said of security. “It wasn’t fun, but it is what it is.”
– Maybe reading too much into a city before travelling there can be a bad thing. Asked if cab drivers in Prague were as difficult to deal with as this would suggest, Krejci said they were fine in Prague, but not necessarily in the neighboring towns. He did note that taxis aren’t as frequently utilized over there and that “you can’t just go in the street and stop one.”
|Michael Ryder expected to return to Bruins||at 12:50 pm ET|
BOLTON — The Bruins and friends teed off for their golf tournament at The International, meaning practically all of the players were available to chat Monday morning in Bolton. Though David Krejci gave WEEI.com some good tips on dealing with cab drivers in Prague, the most interesting player to speak may have been his winger in Michael Ryder.
“I’m anxious to get started this year. Last year was disappointing, especially the way it ended,” Ryder said. “I think especially regular season too I think will be a lot better. There are things we have to improve on this year and hopefully we can do that.”
It’s no secret that Ryder was among the players who took the brunt of criticism when the Bruins offense stalled for the entire season. As a result, and with him entering the final year of a three-year deal, many wondered whether Ryder and his $4 million cap hit would be back this season.
“It happens everywhere you go,” Ryder, who seemed genuinely unfazed by the offseason speculation said. “After the season there’s always going to people talking and saying things [regarding] who should go where, and whatever, but you’ve got to forget about it and concentrate on starting off the season.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli rained on the parade of angry fans who wanted Ryder gone when he said early in the offseason that the team would not be buying the final year of Ryder’s deal out. He pointed to an off-year for the winger, who said he “expected to be back” with the team. Ryder admits that coming off a 27-goal season in 2008-09, his 18-goal showing last season was a letdown and he accepts whatever negative chatter comes with it.
“The whole team didn’t score goals last year. We had a hard time putting the puck in the net in the regular season,” Ryder said. “When you’re looked at to score goals and the team’s not scoring, you’re one of the guys that’s under the gun. I kind of accept that and I’ve just got to try to find ways to make that happen.”
Ryder remains a possible victim of the salary cap. The team will be approximately $3.5 million over the $59.4 million mark once Marco Sturm returns from long-term injury status. Asked if he felt he considers each practice and game from here on out an “audition,” Ryder expressed confidence in his role with the Bruins.
“I know I’m still part of this team,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out and prove that I belong here.”
|Krejci on the wrist, the wing, and the rumors||07.23.10 at 7:17 pm ET|
In this offseason, just about anybody on the Bruins could speak to media members and have their hands full. After all, with big names added, bigger expectations for the upcoming season, and enormous questions about the roster, a Q and A could go on for hours if both sides have the time. Make that player a young star recovering from a playoff-ending injury and it’s no different.
Center David Krejci took some time to speak with reporters after signing autographs for youngsters at the first Bruins summer camp on Friday. He first fielded questions from kids who took part in the camp. After handling such toughies as, “What position do you play?” and, “Who broke your wrist?” Krejci put aside the youngster’s mispronunciation of Prague (“Praig” was a good one) and touched on his offseason, the state of the Bruins, and his excitement to be 100 percent again.
Krejci will have his final procedure for what is hopefully a long time next Friday when he has the screws removed from his right wrist, which was broken by Mike Richards in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Though the first surgery on the wrist happened under unfortunate and unusual circumstances, Krejci is far less concerned with this one.
“They’re not even going to put me to sleep, they’re just going to make little holes in each side and just take the screws out and that’s how it is,” Krejci said.
The 24-year-old actually spoke rather highly of getting the screws removed, as their absence will leave just his large scar as the only evidence of the injury that shook the Bruins’ postseason.
“I can’t wait for [the surgery], because after it, a week or two after it, I’ll go on the ice and I’ll be able to start lifting heavy weights and I’m really excited for it,” Krejci said. “It’s been a long time and I can’t wait to go out there and get back on the ice and just back in the games and everything.”
While Krejci’s wrist has been a popular topic in the offseason, perhaps nothing in the last week or so has grabbed more attention more than the status of right wing and Krejci’s good friend Blake Wheeler. The two-year veteran filed earlier this month for arbitration, and by the looks of things, that’s where the process is headed.
Agent Matt Keator, who represents Wheeler and defensemen Mark Stuart and Zdeno Chara, told WEEI.com Friday that the only update on the situation is that the “tickets for Toronto [the site of his Tuesday arbitration hearing] are booked.” The two sides have not made progress in trying to avoid arbitration. Wheeler is currently on his honeymoon and therefore might not be hung up on his contractual status, but a question regarding whether Krejci and Wheeler have kept in touch yielded an interesting answer.
“We’re pretty good friends, and yeah, we talk once in a while. I just went to visit [him] a couple weeks ago. I went to his place in Minnesota, but I’m not going to say anything,” Krejci said. “We’re friends and whatever we talk [about], it’s just between me and him.”
While something is bound to happen with Wheeler, whether he be re-signed prior to Tuesday, granted or declined what the arbiter awards him. The same can’t be said for center Marc Savard, who has been the centerpiece of the rumor mill around Boston. With Tyler Seguin in tow, the Bruins have a surplus of high-level center icemen but not enough money to sign all 22 men for their roster (Seguin and Wheeler remain without contracts. What does Krejci make of the talk that’s out there?
“I have actually no idea. I have no idea, that’s all I can tell you,” Krejci said of Savard. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know that he’s getting traded or whatever [rumors] say. I have no idea. He’s with us right now and that’s how it is.
“You want to see the best players, the good players, the good guys in the dressing room,” he added. “We want them to be back, and he belongs to one of these categories and you want him back.”
The one thing Krejci does seem to have the utmost confidence in is his return to the ice. Though he has yet to skate this offseason, he noted that he doesn’t skate during the offseason anyway. After his surgery he will head home to the Czech Republic for about a month and hit the ice as he gears up for training camp on September 17.
“I’ll go on the ice mid-August and my wrist might be a little weaker at the beginning of the camp, but we still have like two and a half months before the season starts, so I’ll be definitely 100 percent for the first game,” Krejci said.
This offseason has seen a lot go right for the Bruins, be it the offensive additions or the buildup to Prague. With Marco Sturm‘s knee expected to keep him out for a good portion of the season, health remains a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. With Krejci back and ready to go, the team maintains offensive stability that came and went last season. Krejci just hopes the Bruins make it back to the big stage that is the NHL playoffs and have a better result this time.
“We had not many people [believing] in us [last season], but we kind of [snuck] in to the playoffs and I think we were playing great hockey. Whatever happened happened and, you know, these things happen,” Krejci said. “We’ve just got to learn from these mistakes and hopefully it’s going to get us stronger and next time we’ll be in that position where we’ll know what to do.”