Krejci may be getting a message
WILMINGTON - If Sunday’s 4-1 win over Washington and yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena are any indication, David Krejci will be the Bruins’ No. 3 center tonight against the Sabres.
If that is Claude Julien’s way of getting a point across to someone who considers himself a top-line center, Krejci is keeping any critical thoughts about his coach to himself.
“I don’t really want to comment on it,’’ Krejci said when asked if his demotion was a message. “I’m a professional. I’m going to go out there every day and compete my hardest. That’s all I can control.’’
After Sunday’s win, Julien had two reasons for the switch, which saw Chris Kelly centering Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. First, he wanted to create a spark. Second, he preferred Kelly’s defensive-minded presence to counter Washington’s top line.
Krejci submitted a 0-0-0 line with one shot in 15:20 of ice time against the Capitals. He won 10 of 15 faceoffs.
“They were good,’’ Julien said of Krejci’s performance between Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron. “I didn’t mind them at all. They did the job.
“I thought David was good himself. It’s just about getting everybody going again. Sometimes those changes are not bad things.’’
Krejci, after all, has not been performing like a No. 1 center. He has just one assist in his last five games.
That stands in contrast to the 11-game scoring streak Krejci recorded from Dec. 17 to Jan. 14. During his streak, he had five goals and 11 assists while centering Lucic and Nathan Horton.
“I felt really good about my game going into the All-Star break,’’ Krejci said. “We had a couple bad games after the All-Star Game. It happens. Just have to get back to where I was before the All-Star Game.
“I’ve done it many times before. I’m not worried about how I’m going to do it again. I have to look at it positively, go out there every day in practice and games, and do my best.’’
Zach Hamill cleared waivers yesterday and reported to Providence. In 16 games for the big club this season, Hamill has zero goals and two assists. Before his demotion, he was the right wing on the third line with Kelly and Pouliot.
Hamill was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Washington, replaced by Caron.
“I really liked a lot of things [Hamill] did,’’ Julien said. “He sees the ice well. He understands the system very well. He’s a smart player.
“Probably the one thing is that strength is something he’s got to keep working on. And the consistency of keeping the level of play what it was when he first came here.’’
The Bruins are not carrying any spare forwards.
No word on Horton
Julien was wary of releasing information regarding Horton, who will miss his sixth straight game tonight because of a concussion suffered Jan. 22. Horton skated on his own Sunday. He didn’t skate before practice yesterday, nor did he join the team for its morning session. Julien didn’t say whether Horton will skate today while the team is in Buffalo. “I can’t give you an update on this guy every day,’’ Julien said. “It could be long. It could be short. When you see him on the ice with us, it’s going to be a real good sign. We’ll leave it at that.’’
Ruff is hurting
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff might not be on the bench tonight because of broken ribs he suffered in a collision at practice Monday. If Ruff is unavailable, assistant coach James Patrick could assume his bench duties . . . Buffalo is only a point out of last place in the Eastern Conference. “Just because they are where they are right now doesn’t make them a bad team,’’ Julien said. “It makes them a hungry team. We’re certainly aware of that. Our focus is more about our play than it is about other teams at this stage.’’ . . . Thomas Vanek will not play because of an upper-body injury . . . Zdeno Chara was given a day off yesterday. He played 25:49 against Washington Sunday and 27:01 against Pittsburgh a day earlier.