Not much is known about David Krejci outside Boston, and even in the hub of hockey, he is a bit of a mystery man. Krejci is the No. 1 centre and the No. 1 scorer on a Bruins team trying to deliver the club’s first Stanley Cup championship since 1972, and as such should be a far more celebrated personality than he is. But in a town that adores Tim Thomas, gushes over Zdeno Chara and loves the two players patrolling the wings on Krejci’s line – Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic – the smallish, quiet puck distributor tends to be overlooked.
But if the Bruins are going to make it interesting against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, it will be because Krejci has taken on a leading role in the series, same as he has throughout the playoffs. Some players are quietly important that way, and for proof, consider that last spring the Bruins were moving along nicely in the playoffs until Krejci dislocated his wrist in a collision with the Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Richards and was lost for the rest of the series.
Without Krejci, the Bruins unravelled and made history by becoming only the third NHL team to blow a 3-0 series lead and lose. Philadelphia went on to play for the Stanley Cup.
Statistically, the Bruins don’t have a line to match the Sedins and Alex Burrows, though Krejci’s unit comes closest. Krejci has what television analyst Keith Jones calls “sweet hands.” It was Krejci’s pass, through a seam, to Horton that set up the only goal in a seventh-game 1-0 win that eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning last round. Players such as Horton and Lucic, who drive hard to the net, are effective only if somebody’s there to give them the puck.