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Krejci Among Vets Set for Preseason Debuts

Will get first look at playing alongside newcomer Ritchie

by Eric Russo @erusso22 /

BOSTON - David Krejci is used to the questions.

For the last several seasons, the veteran pivot has had a revolving door of wingers on his right side as the Bruins search for the correct fit. And so far during training camp, it hasn't been much different.

"I just let that go," said Krejci, who has had the likes of Karson Kuhlman, Brett Ritchie, and Danton Heinen on his flank this fall. "It's nothing new to me. I know every single player on this team. I know they can all play. I just have to adjust to what kind of player is on that line at that moment.

"That's something I can't control, just focus on my game, just be in the best shape, best position to help the team win. That's pretty much all I care about."

Krejci will make his preseason debut on Monday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden, alongside familiar left winger Jake DeBrusk and Ritchie, who is auditioning for a spot on Boston's roster after signing a one-year deal with the club on July 1.

"We've been practicing for a couple weeks now, he's already played a game," Krejci said of Ritchie. "He knows what he's got to do, I know what I've got to do. We talked a little bit today, we'll talk a little bit more before the game, what to expect from each other. Other than that, we've got to go out there and show that we can play.

"I like what I see in practices, he's a big guy, strong guy. He's really good with the stick too. We'll see what we can do together."

Video: Krejci Speaks with Media

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy hopes that Ritchie, who has also seen time with Charlie Coyle during camp, can use his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame to create space for Krejci and DeBrusk, while also claiming some territory in front of the Flyers' net.

"With Krech, I think it will be more of a line rush situation with Jake, seeing that he's been able to make some plays at practice…we'll see if he can add to those two in that regard," said Cassidy. "Get to the net, he's a big body, he's got decent hands in tight. The goals he scored last year were generally all in that area.

"Be physical on the forecheck when he can be, be the first in with a good stick, whatever the situation dictates. Hopefully gets a few chances to finish."

With so many moving parts, Cassidy and Krejci - who had Kuhlman and David Backes as his most frequent right wings during last spring's playoffs - have stayed in constant contact about what the coach is planning.

"I found him to be very adaptable, for obvious reasons," said Cassidy. "We've used a lot of different guys there. I think he has guys that he prefers to play with. He'd be the first to tell you that, but so does [Patrice Bergeron], so does [Sean] Kuraly, and so does [Charlie] Coyle.

"At the end of the day, I think he's been very good about different linemates. It's just the hand we've been dealt - or that I've dealt him I guess. I think it's worked out pretty well for the most part for the last year and a half.

"He's done a good job. He had 70-some points last year. I think what he's tried to do is just go out and play and pull along whoever is on his wing."

Video: Cassidy speaks ahead of preseason home opener

Wait, There's More

  • In addition to Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Tuukka Rask will make their preseason debuts on Monday night against Philadelphia.
  • Per Cassidy, Rask will start again on Saturday against the Blackhawks, with Jaroslav Halak going on Wednesday night against the Devils. "[Tuukka] will determine how much he needs on Saturday…Jaro I think will probably go most of the way on Wednesday."
  • Cassidy said that he expects Patrice Bergeron to play in a game before the end of the preseason, likely in the exhibition finale on Saturday. "But a guy like him, it will be his call," said Cassidy.
  • Anton Blidh suffered an upper-body injury during last week's preseason tilt in Philadelphia and was meeting with the Bruins' medical staff on Monday for more testing. Cassidy said that he expects the team to have an announcement on the extent of the injury soon.

Monday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - Charlie Coyle - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Brett Ritchie

Danton Heinen - Trent Frederic - Chris Wagner

Jakub Lauko - Sean Kuraly - David Backes


Zdeno Chara - Connor Clifton

Urho Vaakanainen - Alex Petrovic

Jakub Zboril - Josiah Didier


Tuukka Rask

Dan Vladar

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