WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins are back. All of them. David Krejci and Anton Khudobin - who were the last two B’s to make their way back from Europe - put on the Black & Gold today when they joined their teammates for another informal practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
Krejci, who posted 16-11–27 totals in 22 games for Pardubice, enjoyed his time back in his native Czech Republic but is glad to be back in the league that he dreamed of playing in as a kid.
“It was my first Christmas in like 10 years [back in the Czech Republic], so that was kind of nice, I spent it with my family at home. But other than that, I miss the NHL.
“We all, when we were kids, dreamed of playing in the NHL. We don’t want to play somewhere else, so I’m happy that we can play.”
When the Bruins start playing games, Krejci, who is entering his seventh season in Boston, is still going to be looking to improve his skills.
“I want to be better every year,” he said. “I think my best years are still ahead of me. I want to be playing from the first game to the last game at the same level. The production might not be there every night, but I don’t want to get down on myself. Just stay the same every game and if I do that, I’ll be happy.”
During his time in the Czech league, Krejci faced off against Tuukka Rask, who suited up for Plzen and went 6-2-0 with a 1.85 GAA. Krejci scored in the game but Rask evened things up later on.
“I did score, but then the game finished 2-2 or 3-3, then it went to a shootout and he stopped me, so [it was] kind of 1 for 1 over there.”
Rask will be sharing the net with Khudobin, who, in 26 games with Moscow Oblast Atlant of the KHL, went 6-14-4 with a 2.96 GAA.
“We’re colleagues, so we know how to talk to each other. I’ve known him since last year and he’s a good guy,” said Khudobin on the camaraderie between the two goalies. “We talk to each other before practices. Him and Tim [Thomas], they [were] together for a long time too, but now I came here and we’ve been together so it’s great.”
Khudobin also talked about he and Rask pushing each other to be better in net.
“Of course, it’s going to be probably like everybody and every goalie, you know, try to be better than the other goalie so I’m going to push him, he’s going to push me. I think it’s normal,” he said.
The one game Khudobin played for the Bruins last year - a 3-1 victory over the Senators on April 5 - was in Ottawa, so he has yet to experience playing at TD Garden.
“Of course,” said the goalie, on whether he has been thinking of what it will be like so step on the Garden ice. “I was thinking about it even when I was in [Russia] and how it’s going to be. It’s pumped me [up] for sure.”
The goalie played just seven games in two seasons for the Minnesota Wild prior to joining the B’s in 2012, but thinks even that limited experience will help.
“Well I have a little more experience than in Minnesota I guess,” said Khudobin. “I didn’t play a lot in the NHL yet, so I’m just getting ready. I know what to expect, I know what I need to do to play good at this level, just get ready and let’s go.”