This season, he’s hoping for less injury trouble and a healthier start.
Luckily, Krejci didn’t have to undergo any offseason surgery, took a couple of weeks off after the season ended in April and was back to working out with no limitations.
“Off the ice, in the gym, everything was fine,” Krejci said Monday at the Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament at The International Golf Course before hitting the links. “I’ve been skating for a little over a month now and felt good on the ice, so there shouldn’t be any reason why I shouldn’t be 100 percent.”
Training camp opens this week on Thursday, Sept. 17 with off-ice testing before on-ice sessions begin Friday.
The center is anxious for a clean slate. Thirty-one points off seven goals and 24 assists through 47 games isn’t exactly the way he wants to contribute to his team. He wants to offer much more.
“For a couple reasons - obviously, one, because I got hurt and didn’t play as many games as I would like to, and also, we didn’t make the playoffs so it was a really long offseason,” said Krejci.
“Sometimes it’s nice to get away for a couple weeks but then you’re kind of starting to miss it and you get bored, so you go on the Internet, you watch TV and you just read things and honestly, you kind of get tired of just reading about speculations, trades and line combinations and point productions.”
“You just want to get it started and make all these speculations kind of put it aside and I want you guys to start writing about different things,” the longtime Bruin said with a slight smile. “So I kind of can’t wait for that.”
The club went through many changes in the offseason. Krejci said goodbye to one of his closest friends in June when longtime linemate Milan Lucic was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
“It’s gonna be weird,” Krejci admitted, having been on the team with Lucic for eight seasons. “We’ve been together for a long time and now he’s gone, so that was a really sad day but we have to understand that it’s a business as well.”
“And you know, there was some upper management changes and they’re just trying to make our team better than last year and they did some changes and I really like the team we have now, so we’ll see how it goes.”
General Manager Don Sweeney and Krejci talked throughout the summer and had good conversations. Krejci is looking forward to training camp and seeing which wingers will end up on his line.
“Well, I think you guys have been thinking about it more than I have,” Krejci smiled to reporters. “But we’ll see, you know, there’s a bunch of guys I would like to play with, so we’ll see what happens.”
Naturally, 6-foot, 204-pound left winger Matt Beleskey - signed by Boston as a free agent on July 1 - comes to mind when thinking about Krejci’s possible linemates.
“I know him as a player, haven’t met him yet - we texted a little bit in the summer when he signed,” said Krejci. “If you look at it, he plays similar to what Milan was doing here, but it’s kind of hard to say which direction the management and the coaching staff wants to go.”
“We’ll see what happens. I’m open to whatever, so we’ll see.”
Last September, Krejci was healthy for the duration of training camp before being injured in the final preseason game and missing the season’s first three games. He returned, only to miss 17 of the next 19 games, dealing with the same undisclosed injury.
He then came back for 27 games from December through February, before suffering a partially-torn MCL in his left knee and missing the next 14 games. By the time he recovered and suited up in the team’s nine remaining regular season games, it was difficult for Krejci - and the team - to build any momentum. A disappointing end ensued.
“It’s a huge plus,” said Captain Zdeno Chara, on having a healthy Krejci. “Anytime you have a healthy team and healthy players, everyone can perform to their maximum abilities, so I think that this time of the year, it’s just great to see that everybody’s so motivated, healthy, strong and ready to go.”
“When you have a guy like Krech, he definitely takes the load offensively and definitely helps everyone out that way,” said fellow centerman Patrice Bergeron, who saw his number of draws increase significantly last year (especially in the defensive zone) with Krejci sidelined.
“So it’s not just me but the whole team, it just helps everyone else to be better players.”
“Every time I felt like I was coming back to be the player I wanted to be, I got hurt,” said Krejci. “But I’m not making any excuses.
‘Playing consistently for a full season’ is no doubt something on both his and the Bruins’ to-do lists for 2015-16.
“You know what, last year was my first year in my career that I got some injury troubles so I’ve been working out since pretty much the season ended and have had no setbacks,” said Krejci.
“I’m shooting for 82 games, so we’ll see what happens.”