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Krejci's World Class

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
David Krejci, just 22, had a breakout rookie winter for the Boston Bruins and despite the springtime's recent warm weather, the young forward's accomplishments just keep on piling up like so much New England snow.

Following up his excellent freshman campaign, the budding center joined the Czech National Team for the World Championships and is having a blast in Quebec City.

"We have three points out of four -- we lost in overtime yesterday against Russia," said Krejci via phone on Monday afternoon. "We have an opportunity to win a medal and go back home to the Czech Republic and see our fans."

It's not the first time that Krejci (5'11, 176 lbs) has represented the Czech Republic on the world stage. David earned a bronze medal in the 2005 World Junior Tournament and played in the tourney again in the 2006.

"It's a huge honor," said Krejci of skating for his country. "This is something special.

"When I was young I would dream about this, about playing for the national team in the World Championships, and I got the opportunity to do that this year."

Following two years in Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he earned a 49-95-144 line in 117 games, Krejci was the Providence Bruins best player during the 2006-07 American Hockey League season.

Last season with the P-Bruins Krejci, who was born in Sternberk of the Czech Republic, had a 31-43-74 line in 69 games and was also recalled to Boston three times for six NHL contests. He led Providence in scoring during the regular season and ranked third among AHL rookies. He then played 13 Calder Cup Playoff games and earned a 3-13-16 docket on the postseason.

This year, after an early refresher course with Providence, Krejci, drafted by the Black & Gold 63rd overall in round two of 2004 NHL Entry Draft, stuck with Boston to the tune of 55 games and a 6-21-27 line. The rookie playmaker was also second on the Bruins with a 1-4-5 line during the B's stirring seven game series with the Montreal Canadiens.

All of that led to his joining the Czech team in the World Championship.

Krejci explained that, unlike Canada and the United States where the Stanley Cup takes precedence and international hockey is often on the backburner, the IIHF World Championships are very big in his native land.

"Yes, for sure, this is huge," said Krejci. "Here in America, first comes the Stanley Cup and then it's the World Championship.

"In [my country] this means so much more for the Czech people -- more than anything else.

"It's [very] competitive -- it's not just the biggest tournament [in the Czech Republic], but in all of Europe," he said.

As such, the Czech team is loaded.

Patrik Elias, Tomas Kaberle and Ales Kotalik are just a couple of the NHL names, besides Krejci, that stand out on the roster.

"We actually have a lot of good players," said Krejci, with just a little awe as he ticked off a list of teammates. "We have a good team."

Moreover, Krejci indicated that the World Championship was helping him cope -- a little -- with the Bruins emotional exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Now that the playoffs are in the second round, it is so hard to watch," he said. "I wish we were still playing.

"I would love to be back on [the TD Banknorth Garden's] ice…and in the second or third round."

Being busy has certainly helped keep Krejci's chin up.

"I haven't seen too much of Quebec City because of the schedule," he said. "But I love it here.

"I am learning something every single day…and just having fun.

"It's a very good experience for me," he said.

Now wearing number 64 for his national team (as number 46 was taken), Krejci was asked what it would be like to face off against his Bruins teammates on Team USA, should the Czech Republic face off against the United States in the medal round.

Krejci gave his familiar snicker before answering.

"Hopefully, we'll play against America," quipped Krejci before he laughingly added, "and maybe I'll score a goal…against Timmy [Thomas]."
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