BOSTON — Unlike most years, this season’s NESN Seventh Player Award winner didn’t get to make a speech.
So after the Boston Bruins defeated Ottawa, 2-1, at TD Banknorth Garden tonight, center David Krejci — the player voted by the fans to have exceeded expectations this season — wanted to make sure he showed his appreciation to those who logged on and clicked his name.
“It means a lot, this award. The fans voted and I really appreciate it,” said the second-year NHLer. “I’m just so glad those guys appreciated my work and they voted for me, so it’s a great honor. Like I said, I’ve got to give credit to my teammates too.”
The thing is, Krejci often gives more than credit to his teammates. His 50 assists rank second on the Bruins, and his 72 points also have him just behind Marc Savard for the team lead. This after a rookie season that featured him posting just 6-21-27 totals in 56 games. But Krejci got hot as the playoffs approached and then posted 1-4-5 totals in the seven-game series with Montreal. So that raised the bar for this season.
“You’re hoping that you’d see him continue to play that way, but you know, a second-year player, we’ve seen different scenarios — guys that really struggle in their sophomore year, if you want to put it that way,” said head coach Claude Julien. “It was a matter, for me, it was more, will David be consistent this year? Because the year before, the knock on David was that when he’s on his game, he’s on his game; but consistency was always an issue with him … but he had to bring some consistency to his game night in, night out, and I think he accomplished that this year.”
Krejci not only had the support of the fans, but also his teammates. Two-time Seventh Player winner Tim Thomas endorsed the native of the Czech Republic.
“There’s a few guys this year that could’ve, that deserved it, but if I were the person to choose it I would have chose (Krejci),” said the goaltender.
Continuing to exceed expectations will be key for Krejci, as the Bruins will need every ounce of his talent in the postseason. But for the immediate future, it’s all about figuring out what to do with the 2009 Dodge Ram truck he received as part of the award.
“Yeah, it’s a big truck,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I get just one parking spot, and that’s my second car and it’s a pretty big one so I’ve got to figure it out.”