BRIGHTON, MA – Boston Bruins center David Krejci wouldn’t say that he’s made any final decisions about next season in the days following the disappointing first round playoff exit at the hands of the Florida Panthers.
The 37-year-old center would only say that next season will be playing center for the Boston Bruins or NHL retirement as he contemplates his career, and whether it could possibly end with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss on home ice at the hands of the Panthers on Sunday night.
“There is lots to think about. I’m going to go home soon, talk to my family and definitely want to make a decision soon,” said Krejci, who had 16 goals and 56 points along with a plus-23 in 70 games this season. “I want to get away from this because everything is really raw right now and I don’t want to make a decision that I’m going to regret. I really need to clear my head and think things over.”
Certainly, Krejci and Bergeron looked emotional and like players that might have suiting up for the last time in the moments following their Game 7 overtime loss.
Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci share a long hug. A long hug with Brad Marchand at the end and a wave to the crowd. Class all the way by Patrice. A disappointing end to the Bruins season pic.twitter.com/rY73pFjZNC
— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) May 1, 2023
Krejci put the first-round playoff exit at the hands of Florida right next to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final loss to the St. Louis Blues as the most disappointing playoff losses in his NHL career.
“Lots of mixed emotions. You got one of the feelings is that we had a good team and this one is going to hurt,” said Krejci, who had a goal and three points in the Game 7 loss to the Panthers. “I have lost some playoff series before, but this one I would probably put right next to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
“So this one is going to hurt. Then you have another thing where this might have been my last game. So there are just a lot of emotions. I don’t really like to talk about it because we talked about it a lot with the guys in the last couple of days and it gets emotional. I’m just not ready right now.”
Would Krejci keep playing for the Black and Gold, and in doing so make certain that his Boston Bruins career doesn’t go out that way? He wasn’t ready to say one way or the other and instead wanted time to process the loss, think about the season and talk things over with his family after his wife and children spent the bulk of this season living at their home in South Carolina where the kids go to school.
“It’s either come back or be done. It would be the NHL and it would obviously be the Bruins,” said Krejci, when asked about again returning to the Czech Republic. “I’m going to make a decision soon. It’s really raw and those are all the questions already going through my head. I’m going to try to figure it out in the next couple of weeks because I don’t want to let the team down.
“I felt like I did [let the team down] in the playoffs. I was supposed to play seven games, not four [games]. If you can’t help the team, it’s tough.”
Krejci wouldn’t say what injury he was battling through, but he was able to return for Game 6 and Game 7 after sitting out the middle three games o the playoff series.
If the Boston Bruins had won the Cup this season, it seems fairly obvious that both Krejci and Patrice Bergeron would have ridden off into the sunset on their NHL careers. As it is, the B’s will be on the tab for a $5 million cap penalty because of the one-year, incentive-laden contracts both players signed for this season. But maybe, just maybe, both players will come back for one more run next season so their Black and Gold legacies don’t end with one of the biggest postseason disappointments of their NHL careers.