Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

David Krejci Starts Skating; Ryan Spooner Continues to Produce

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. - David Krejci skated on Wednesday morning for the second straight day in his recovery from a partially torn MCL in his left knee.

Krejci sustained the injury on Feb. 20 against the St. Louis Blues when he landed a hit on Alexander Steen. The center was slated to miss four to six weeks with the injury. He is just about three weeks into that time frame.

He hit the ice at Ristuccia Arena with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides, spending about half an hour going through skating and shooting drills.

"It's part of the healing process, so being on the ice is a good sign," said Head Coach Claude Julien, who knows that Krejci is still at least a week away from a possible return. "But he's not ready to be in our lineup."

In Krejci's absence, center Ryan Spooner has slotted in for the past eight games heading into Thursday night's matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. He has three goals and five assists in that span.

Spooner's call-ups over the span of his three pro seasons have come, for the most part, with Krejci sidelined. It's a tall task to slot into Krejci's spot, and the results have varied for Spooner, but this stint has been different.

Finally scoring his first NHL goal was a start. It came in his third game after the recall, and catapulted the team to an overtime win in New Jersey on Feb. 27 that began their recent 5-0-1 run.

"In the last three weeks, he's really done well," Julien said following the team's practice on Wednesday. "I think since he's been called up, he's been a good player and he's gotten better every time he's been called up, so right now, I think we're extremely happy with him."

"And if he maintains that pace, it's going to be hard for him to get pushed out of our lineup."

For Spooner, getting over the mental hurdle of scoring his first NHL goal (coming in his 35th NHL game) has helped.

"That was in the back of my mind a lot and I think that helped a lot," he said.

But even before that surreal moment, loosening up his mind and taking some pressure off himself was what kickstarted this recent stretch.

"Just trying to have fun," said Spooner. "I think the first five games I had up here [in October], I think I put a little bit too much stress on myself, and this time up, I'm just trying to have fun."

His teammates can have a little fun as well. As Spooner spoke with media, newest Bruin and veteran Max Talbot walked past the gathering of a dozen reporters and cameras and shouted, "All right, Spooner!"

By being able to directly contribute to the team's success, Spooner has stayed more consistent in his play than during previous recalls.

"Last year, I just wasn't really myself, I just didn't really feel like I believed in myself and I kind of sat back," he said. "And this time, I'm just trying to have fun with it and it's been going good."

Milan Lucic has also helped the young center, and their line as a whole with David Pastrnakcontinue their sparked play.

It's no secret that Lucic and Krejci have chemistry, and earlier in the season when Krejci was sidelined with injury, Lucic thought he wasn't the leader he should have been - he was trying to do everything himself and getting frustrated.

The winger has been excited by what he's seen from the young guns, and has taking a different approach this time around, focusing on the line simple having fun and competing every night.

"I keep saying to the both of them, you know, we want to play with the puck and I think when we're playing with the puck, we've shown so far that we can be a dangerous line and can contribute to the team," said Lucic. "And add some excitement to our game and to contribute to the team's success."

"So when you see young guys coming in with that right type of attitude and playing with that excitement, I think it hopefully it rubs off on the rest of the team."

Spooner heads into Thursday night on a six-game point streak with three goals and four assists. Pastrnak has two goals and four assists through those six games, and Lucic has two goals and three assists in that span. It's not a coincidence that with their production, and the team hitting its stride, the Bruins have gone 5-0-1 in those six games.

Defensively, there's natural inexperience from Spooner and Pastrnak, but their speed, skating and offense has been outweighing that.

"It's a normal work in progress," said Julien. "Some of those guys get caught in their own end and are still not quite comfortable at doing those things, but nonetheless, I think right now, the offense is outweighing the defense."

"They're only going to get better with time, so you've got to live with those situations at times and you know, late in the game, sometimes I do have to cut my bench down and they end up paying the price a little bit, but that's not a knock on their game and it's not a knock on what they've brought to our team. It's just a natural process of lack of experience - as simple as that."

Eventually, Krejci will return, and trade deadline acquisition Brett Connolly will eventually get a shot on the right wing when he makes his own return from his broken finger.

But for now, Spooner has found his groove at the NHL level, and Pastrnak is providing a spark of his own.

"They've shown that they belong," said Tuukka Rask. "For Spoons, he's been up and down quite a bit and never really taken that step before…he's shown that he score in the NHL too and it's a huge help for us."

"They've done a great job of producing for us and making it exciting, and when both of those guys are skating the way they have been, for a defenseman, it certainly puts you on your heels," said Julien. "So it's been refreshing to get those guys in our lineup and give us the energy that we needed."

"They're part of the success of our team right now."

Practice Lineup Feb. 11

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Max Talbot - Brian Ferlin

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Dennis Seidenberg

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

View More