BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, was among a small group to skate during an informal practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday.
Krug, 25, who had his right shoulder repaired on April 21 with a projected recovery time of six months, played through his injury for a large portion of last season and knew surgery was necessary while the Bruins were battling for a playoff spot until the last day of the regular season.
He had an NHL career-low four goals (down from 12 the season before), but his 40 assists, 44 points and 244 shots on goal were career bests, so he didn't want to use the injury as an excuse.
"I had plenty of opportunities last year, some that didn't go in," said Krug, who signed a four-year contract with an annual NHL salary cap charge of $5.25 million on June 30. "I shot the puck more than ever. If I just capitalized on some of those opportunities, it's a different outlook for sure."
Video: Krejci, Krug among Bruins at first captain's practice
Krug said he's been told by the medical staff that he's on pace for a full recovery, but he is not using much of his shoulder in taking shots and doesn't expect to be able to fully participate in training camp when it opens in September.
With seven defensemen returning from last season, the Bruins are going to need a healthy Krug in addition to improvements from others to be a playoff-caliber defense. Boston, which failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight season, finished tied for 19th in goals allowed per game (2.78).
"We know we're highly capable of taking on whatever's thrown our way," Krug said. "I think we'll see what happens, but I know this group, the D-men especially, are motivated to prove a lot of people wrong that are saying we're not ready to compete and be a playoff team."
Center David Krejci, who recently began the on-ice portion of his rehabilitation from left hip surgery he had on April 25, also skated. He was expected to need five months to recover after being bothered by the injury dating to a preseason game in 2014, when he was limited to 47 games by it and other injuries in 2014-15. Last season, Krejci missed 10 games with a shoulder injury but wasn't 100 percent in the 72 games he played (he had 17 goals and 63 points). He said he is confident he will be ready when the Bruins open the regular season at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 13.
Krejci, 30, is hoping to play for Team Czech Republic at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which begins Sept. 17.
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"Well, hopefully I'll be the player I was last year the first half of the season until I got my shoulder injury for a few weeks," said Krejci, who has averaged 0.76 points per game in his NHL career. "The year before I missed half of the season because of my hip and last year it was kind of a nagging injury the last year and a half. So it's all gone.
"So I feel like I can be the player that I want to be."
Krejci says the Bruins have extra motivation for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
"We haven't been in the playoffs for a couple years so it's an exciting time," Krejci said. "If you go back to 2011 and then 2013, we were in the final but we knew that we already won two years before. So it was kind of yeah, we did try, but you always know that you already had that Cup. But it's now like the Cup's out of the window, it's a long time ago, now I'm going to talk about it when I retire. Now we're all hungry again. We've missed the playoffs two years in a row so it's the new excitement again and just kind of can't wait to get back in it."