There was a bit of a brewing urban legend with the Boston Bruins that center David Krejci had left to play in the Czech Republic, at least in part, because of differences with B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy, and that his firing had paved the way for Krejci’s return on a one-year, $1 million contract plus $2 million in performance bonuses.
The 36-year-old Krejci even admitted with a smile that it would be a pretty good story if was true while speaking to reporters on a Zoom call, but the playmaking center debunked that entire notion while crediting longtime friends Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak as the biggest factors in his Black and Gold return.
“That would be a good story if I would say ‘yes’,” said Krejci, when asked if the coaching change played a role in his return to Boston. “My decision was made before they hired the new coach. The firing of Butchie had nothing to do with my decision to come back.”
“I have to give credit to Bergie, him and Pasta we had so many conversations in the last few months about coming back or not. They’re the reason why I wanted to come back and play with those guys again.”
There’s been plenty of smoke about current Boston Bruins players that might have had a voice in the coaching change from Cassidy to Jim Montgomery, with Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely admitted that a different voice was needed with some players, including the core group currently in their prime years.
“Young or old, I think there is a message delivery that I think a new voice will resonate with them,” said Don Sweeney back in June when Cassidy’s firing was first announced. “I felt that both the message and how it was being delivered and more importantly maybe how it was being received, you know, young and old and that’s where I reference both younger and older players and taking ownership of it as I would, and I do with where our roster’s at and the changes that I ultimately have to make. I think the players you know felt they were very well prepared but at times, young and old, they struggled, and sometimes that’s the voice that’s in their head and I think, ultimately, I had to make a decision that takes us in a different path.”
Krejci put up 20 goals and 46 points in 51 games for HC Olomouc in the Czech League after leaving the Bruins to play one season his home country, and by all accounts had a great experience with his family living at home after primarily living in the United States for the previous 15 years. He mentioned playing with Pastrnak for Czechia at the World Championships this summer as “a turning point” in really thinking about returning to the Bruins, and it’s continued that way as it appears Krejci and Pastrnak might finally get to play together on the same forward line this upcoming season.
That was a bone of contention for Krejci in the past and something he observed closely when Pastrnak finally played regularly with the second line this past season with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on Boston’s second line. David Krejci called it “strange” that Bruce Cassidy suddenly started moving the explosive Pastrnak around in the forward lineup once he was gone from the team, and mentioned it publicly in the media in Europe.