BOSTON — If it wasn’t for Versus “Inside the Glass” correspondent Pierre McGuire, Bruins center David Krejci wouldn’t have had to answer questions today about Detroit superstar Pavel Datsyuk.
But during Thursday night’s riveting Game 7 between the Red Wings and victorious San Jose, the longtime television blowhard used a promo for tomorrow night’s Game 1 of the Bruins’ Eastern Conference Final with Tampa Bay to throw this dandy into the broadcast — something along the lines of “The Bruins with their version of Pavel Datsyuk, David Krejci.”
Today after practice at the TD Garden, Krejci claimed he watched the game but didn’t hear McGuire’s massive exaggeration. Krejci’s teammates, however, were quick to let him know what was said.
“I think he’s a little different player than I am. He’s got great hands. I don’t think there’s another player like him,” said Krejci when asked if he was flattered by the comment. “He’s one of the best. He’s the best player in the world with the skills and the puck moves. He’s unbelievable. It’s just good to watch him and there’s no one like him and there never will be.”
With the Lightning next on the Bruins’ docket and Krejci expected to be even more of a focal point of Tampa Bay’s defensive schemes with Patrice Bergeron out, the veteran center didn’t want to sit around and compare himself to Datsyuk.
“I don’t really care. He’s done so … it’s not just about skill players and about star players. You’ve got to have a good team. And I think that’s what we have here,” he said. “We have a better team than they do because we’re in the third round and we have a chance to go to the Stanley Cup final. They’re done. That’s the difference between me and him right now.”
Another difference is that Datsyuk, a three-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, is a mainstay on the Red Wings’ penalty kill. For the last several months, Krejci’s been the odd-man out for Boston when shorthanded.
That’s expected to change now that Bergeron is out. Krejci sounds ready to add to his workload.
“I basically stopped playing PK when Blake [Wheeler] got traded, you know. So I didn’t have any partner,” said Krejci. “You know what, I haven’t been playing PK since so … we felt that when we went on we could create something, some scoring chances. I knew when I was going there, I’m not there just to kill penalties but you never know, maybe you get a good scoring opportunity or 2-on-1, and that’s what was happening when Blake was here. Obviously … if I get out there tomorrow I’ll be excited.”
There are worse people to be compared to than Datsyuk. And for all the focus on point production when it comes to Krejci, he still fashions himself the type of player that can be a Datsyuk-like force at both ends of the rink.
“I wanted to but I’m not playing penalty killing anymore and not taking important faceoffs. But maybe down the stretch it’s going to change,” he said. “I’ve got a long career, so I’ve got to work on my faceoffs and work my way up there and who knows, one day, we’ll see.”
The series with the Lightning, and their star-studded forward corps, would be a great place for Krejci to get back on track to becoming the next Pavel Datsyuk.