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Murphy: Krejci Paid It Forward By Mentoring Pastrnak



Boston Bruins

While he accomplished plenty of statistical accolades and helped the Boston Bruins win their only Stanley Cup since 1972, a key part of David Krejci’s legacy is his mentoring of fellow Czech and Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

After Krejci announced his retirement from the Boston Bruins and the NHL on Monday, Pastrnak thanked Krejci for that and the strong friendship they developed from being teammates for eight seasons.

“Best teammate that I ever had, and I can’t thank you enough,” Pastrnak said in a tribute message posted on the Bruins’ social media feeds. “But again, congratulations, and good luck in your next chapter of your life. He’s been my best friend since I got here. I’m really going to miss him. I have so many memories that make me think of him, especially. And that’s the beauty of hockey — I found a friend for the rest of my life … in 20-30 years from now, he’s still going to be my friend and that’s the beauty of the sport.”



On Tuesday, David Krejci addressed the media via Zoom on Tuesday. In his trademark laid-back, even-keeled, and pensive manner, Krejci went on a trip down memory lane with the reporters on the Zoom call and made sure to thank fellow former Bruins centers Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard for mentoring him during the early years of a brilliant 16-season career.

“For me, I just wanted to be the best I could be, and I had two really good players in front of me, Marc Savard and ‘Bergy,'” Krejci pointed out. “So, I learned so much from them, and then ‘Savvy’ left, so I was just trying to keep up with ‘Bergy’ or trying to be as good as him or get as good as I could not just on the ice, but even the professional he is off the ice. I knew I could never come close to that, but just watching him and seeing his work ethic made me a better player.

I talked to him about this, and he pushed me hard in the summer. I take pride in my summer workouts every year, and it’s mainly because of ‘Bergy’ because I know how hard he works and I had to work as hard just to be in the same position, and be right there with him, and to be able to help the team be successful as No. 1 and No. 2 centermen.”



From the second David Pastrnak showed up as a highly-touted rookie at training camp prior to the 2014-15 season, his elder Czech statesman on the team, Krejci, was there for him, but only if Pastrnak was willing to ask the questions and put in the work.

“We kind of hit it off since day one,” Krejci said of the 2023 Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award nominee. “I told him that I’m going to help as much as I can, but he’s gotta ask questions, and it’s up to him if he really wants to learn or not. That’s what I did with ‘Bergy and ‘Savvy.’ It’s not like they come to you, and they take your hand and show you around. If you really want to, you watch them, you think of questions, and you ask, and they were really happy to help.”That’s what I tried to do with ‘Pasta.'”

Since then, Pastrnak has cracked the 30-goal plateau six times, and the 40-goal three times, and this past season, Pastrnak became the first 50-goal scorer for the Boston Bruins since Cam Neely in 1993-94 and the first 60-goal scorer since Phil Esposito accomplished the feat in the 1974-75 season. Pastrnak finished the season with 61 goals and 113 points. The 27-year-old, 6-foot-1, 195-pound sniper also signed an eight-year, $90 million ($11.2M AAV), contract extension that kicks in this season.

Krejci was asked if he has taken pride in watching David Pastrnak develop into the superstar he’d become.

“Obviously, being from the same country as him, we hit it off right away. We became best friends, I would say. He just did the rest. He had so much talent. Smart kid, humble kid, and look at him now. When he first showed up at 18 years old, we knew he’s got skills. He’s a good player, but you can’t predict the career he’s had. I’m really happy for him. He’s come a long way. He’s been through some tough times. I wish him all the best. There’s one thing he’s missing, the Stanley Cup. And I think he has a good chance with the Bruins. Hopefully, they’ll get it done soon.”

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