|David Krejci receives the 40th annual 7th Player Award from B's play-by-play man Jack Edwards prior to Thursday's game against the Ottawa Senators. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) |
On Thursday night, in front of a sold out TD Banknorth Garden, Boston Bruins center David Krejci
was announced as the 40th annual NESN Seventh Player Award winner.
To select the winner of the award, Boston Bruins fans -- the team’s seventh player -- had the chance to vote at NESN.com for the player they felt had exceeded fans’ expectations during the season.
“This has been a difficult year to choose the winner of this award,” said NESN in-game announcer Jack Edwards, as he stood on-ice before tonight’s game to present the award. “There are 23 men in Black & Gold who would easily qualify for this award.”
However, Krejci – who was drafted by Boston in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, and made his NHL debut on Jan. 30, 2007, in the first of six games he played for the B’s that season – has made quite the impression in just his second season with the Bruins.
“It means a lot, honestly,” said Krejci. “All the fans voted, and they appreciate the way I play, and I really appreciate it. I’ve got to give lots of credit to the organization, coaching staff and my teammates -- without them, it wouldn’t be possible to win it.”
As one of only four Bruins to have played all 76 games this season, Krejci has used this campaign to establish multiple new career-high milestones, including ones for games played, goals (22) and assists (50). His new career-high for points (71) ranks him second on the team and 24th in the NHL, and he leads the league with his career-high plus/minus rating of +36.
The 22-year-old is also somewhat of a good luck charm for the Black & Gold. In games where Krejci scores a goal, the team is 19-0-1; when he has an assist, they are 28-2-5. He also leads the team in game-winning points (six goals, eight assists).
“I had high expectations [at the beginning of this year], that’s for sure,” Krejci said. “You don’t know how good of a season it will be, but in the start of the season, I had ice time, I played the power play and I played well, and I just wanted to keep it that way.”
And the stats just kept coming. Boston’s no. 46 leads the Bruins with seven game with three-or-more-points and is second on the team for multi-point games (21). This season, Krejci also notched his first career NHL hat trick in a Dec. 18 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
True to form, in Thursday night’s game, Krejci assisted on Boston’s first goal, a shot by Milan Lucic
(who won the Seventh Player Award last year) during the second period, to give him his 50th assist of the season and extend his assist and point streak to four games with 1-7-8 totals in that stretch.
“He’s been a big part of our success this year. He’s made us deep in the centerman position,” Lucic said. “He plays on the power play, he plays on the PK, he’s got a lot of points, and he’s good down low.
“It’s just well-deserved.”
Former Seventh Player Award winner, Bruins goal Tim Thomas
(2005-06, 2006-07), agreed with the fans’ pick.
“Like Jack said during the warm-up, there’s a few guys this year that could have deserved it,” he said. “But if I were the person to choose, I would have chose Krech, too.”
Krejci is only the second European-born player to win the Seventh Player Award, joining Vladimir Ruzicka, who won during the 1991-1992 season.
Along with the Seventh Player Award trophy, Krejci also received a red 2009 Dodge Ram pickup, courtesy of New England Dodge Dealers.
“It’s a big truck,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I’ve got just one parking spot, and that’s my second car. It’s a pretty big one, so I’ve got to figure it out.”