Krejci surrounded by positive signs
Bruins center eager to return
If yesterday’s scene — shaking dozens of hands, signing maybe 100 autographs — is any indication, David Krejci’s right wrist is recovering nicely, allowing the Bruins center to focus on an upcoming season that might see him assume more of a leadership role on offense.
Krejci paid a visit to the first Boston Bruins Summer Camp at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury, taking questions from some of the youth hockey players, then posing for pictures and signing jerseys, hockey sticks, posters, and gear bags. If you didn’t know his surgically repaired wrist still had two pins in it, you couldn’t tell. The cast has been gone for weeks, but a small scar remains. He’s scheduled to have the pins removed Friday.
“Everybody is saying we’re right on schedule, everything’s going the right way. I’m really excited for it, it’s been a long time,’’ said Krejci, who dislocated the wrist May 5 in a hard open-ice hit by Philadelphia’s Mike Richards in the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “I can’t wait to get back on the ice, get back into games and everything.’’
A week or two after the short upcoming procedure, Krejci expects to be cleared to resume skating and lifting weights, and expects to join his teammates when training camp opens in September.
His progress will be watched closely.
A 22-goal scorer (73 points) two seasons ago who led the NHL with a plus-37, Krejci saw his numbers drop last season: 17 goals, 52 points. He went into last season recovering from hip surgery, which, he said yesterday, contributed to his slow start. In the second half of the season, Krejci had nine goals and 29 of his 52 points. He added four goals and 8 points in nine playoff games.
“My first half of last season was slow. I wasn’t producing,’’ said the 24-year-old native of the Czech Republic. “A few weeks before the Olympics I picked up my game, and my second half of the year was very good.
“I need to start the way I finished last year. It’s not easy. I believe if I’ve done it two years ago all season, and if I’ve done it last year for the second half, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t start the same way.’’
That would come in handy. Amid rumors that the Bruins might be looking to deal first-line center Marc Savard, a healthy, productive Krejci would likely be a factor in any trade.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. He’s with us right now, and that’s how it is,’’ Krejci said. “You want to see the best players, the good players, the good guys, you want them to be back.’’
With or without Savard, Krejci figures to be asked about center Tyler Seguin, drafted No. 2 overall last month. Still unsigned, Seguin is viewed as a rare talent who can make an immediate impact, despite being only 18.
“I don’t like to take my teammates as my challenge. I like to be better than other guys on other teams, but I need my teammates to help me out,’’ Krejci said. “So this new kid, I believe, he’s going to help me out and I’m going to help him out. I’m not competing against anybody on my team, but I want to be the best player on the team, and I want to become one of the best players in the league.’’
The last game Krejci played is the last game the Bruins won. That 4-1 victory in Game 3 was followed by four crushing defeats, costing the Bruins a spot in the conference final against lower-seeded Montreal and a shot at their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
“We were so close, all the good teams went out,’’ Krejci said. “I’m not saying we would beat Montreal if we beat Philly, but maybe. You never know. Those opportunities don’t come around that often.
“I’m looking forward to this year because we have a really good team and we can accomplish big things. I believe in this team. It’s still too soon and we don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m not afraid to say that we could go all the way to the [Stanley Cup] finals. We have that team.’’
Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer @globe.com.