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Marchand On Krejci: ‘He Always Comes Up Big At Big Times’

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Boston Bruins veteran center David Krejci will play in his 1,000th game Monday afternoon when the Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden in a 1 PM matinee. Bruins winger Brad Marchand has had the privilege of calling Krejci a teammate since he entered the NHL in the 2009-10 season, and recently reflected on one of the most clutch and dependable BostonBruins of the last 15 years.

“What? I thought he hit that like 20 years ago,” Marchand quipped of the 36-year-old Krejci whom he’s called a teammate since the 2009-10 season. “He’s got to be the oldest guy to do that no? What’s he like an 80-year-old now?”

All kidding aside, Marchand has marveled at how poised and clutch David Krejci has always been when it matters most. Heading into his 1000th game Monday, Krejci has been a playmaking machine with 226 goals and 535 assists in the regular season but it’s his playoff resume that amazes Marchand and so many around the game. In 156 Stanley Cup playoff games, Krejci has 42 goals and 82 assists.

When the Boston Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup, Krejci led all skaters with 23 points (12g, 11a), in 25 games, and would likely have been the the Conn Smythe winner if not for Tim Thomas’ out of this world performance. Two years later, when the Bruins reached Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, he led the Bruins again with 26 points (9g, 17a), in 22 games, and in their run to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final that the Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues, Krejci had four goals and 12 assists in 24 games.

“He always comes up big at big times, and on our playoff runs he’s always our top scorer and just comes up with huge goals at the opportune moment,” Marchand said. “That’s part of it, his demeanor, his character. Regardless of the situation, I don’t know if he feels the pressure or not but he’s just able to just thrive and just come through in the big moments. In those moments you can feel the pressure on the bench and in the stands, and the coaches and the players and then you look at him and he’s just kind of hanging out. It’s almost like he doesn’t feel any emotion whatsoever – good or bad – and it definitely kind of gives you a calming sense in those moments. Especially when you see him take over, you feed off that. So it’s been fun to watch.”

Krejci’s ability to slow the game down and out-think his opponents has always amazed Marchand, and even frustrated him in practice.

“Yeah, I’ve played with him a little bit in the past but watching him, he’s incredible at his craft,” Marchand said. “The way he can slow the game down and the things he does, he makes it look so easy. Then even practicing with him, that’s where I think I get frustrated a bit. I think I have him in spots where I think I can get the puck or wherever he is, and then he’s just by me or he makes the play. …I mean, he’s so gifted.”

While Marchand completely understood Krejci’s decision to head back to Czechia with his family for the 2021-22 season, and would’ve been fine if he just retired, he’s thrilled Krejci came back for one more run at Lord Stanley with Marchand, captain Patrice Bergeron and the rest of the 2022-23 Boston Bruins.

“I think it’s been a meaningful season for him,” Marchand said. “His decision to leave last year was completely family-based and completely understandable. Why he did it? I mean, every day is a gift with your family and for him to go and take his kids over there, and understand where he grew up, and spend that time with his parents, and family and friends, and then play in front of them, completely understand why he did that.

It must have been very special for him, but to have the opportunity to come back and have another run, and be part of a group like this, you can see every day how much he’s enjoying it, and how grateful he is to be back. Not every player has that chance to leave and come back into the league, especially at his age – and even being able to walk at his age is impressive – but you can just see he’s very grateful, and he’s having a lot of fun.”

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