Blackhawks vs Bruins: 5 Reasons Why David Krecji Is Such a Playoff Beast?
It is that time of the year. Days are getting longer, outdoor rinks have melted, and Winter is over (even in Canada). In essence, it is a privilege to be playing hockey in June...more specifically, on a professional level.
It has been no secret that the key to success in the Stanley Cup playoffs cannot be unlocked by the same key to excellence in the regular season.
Players and coaches must make necessary adjustments to ensure that their teams are competent, but unfortunately, very few are able to do so effectively. Some of the superstars in the regular season become non-factors on the big stage, while some of the least expected contributors carry the burden as a dark horse.
Some players are just built to fulfill the demands of becoming a champion, while some simply are not.
Among the most prolific career playoff performers at the moment is Boston Bruins center David Krejci. This man has been visibly magnificent in his postseason career, thus far, and is significantly effective in high-pressure games.
This list will break down how, and why, Krejci continues to be arguably the most dominant playoff performer in hockey over the course of the past few seasons.
Here are five factors that contribute to his success.
1. His Empire
It is definitely over-the-top to assume that the Bruins will experience multiple championship opportunities in the next few years to come, but this team certainly has the structure of a dynasty.
First of all, Claude Julien is one of the most resilient and experienced coaches in hockey today, and it has a trickle-down effect on the organization.
Krejci, along with every other player on the team, buys into this system because it has proven to be successful over the course of a grueling series.
The defensive style that is integrated into the Bruins game plan is one that forces players to be responsible with and without the puck, and yeah, it does help when the team has outstanding goaltending as well.
This style allows Krejci to be that all-around player on a fortified establishment—an opportunity that very few players in the league can claim to be a part of.
Perhaps, this may explain why he is an astonishing plus-32 through 75 playoff games in the NHL.
While superstars in other lineups may have the skill (if not, more) of Krejci, most do not have that advantage of playing on a squad with such few holes in their game as the Boston Bruins.
The rhythm and flow of a team's game and the strong cored structure of a organization can have a tremendous impact on a player's confidence, role understanding and overall success in critical situations.
Throughout Boston's recent timeline, they have experienced a three-game series lead collapse, a championship victory involving three game sevens along the way, and a three-goal comeback on their part, in the final 10 minutes of a game seven.
If this team has not seen it all, one can only wonder who has been through more in the past five years. You best believe that this empire is prepared for battle.
2. His Innovation
From the previous slide, it should be quite clear that Boston is not exactly your puck-moving, high-flying team that scores five or more goals every second game during the regular season.
While some teams are loaded with gifted superstars who have the finesse to compete for the scoring trophies year after year, soft-handed talent is a rarity among the bullies from Bean Town.
That rarity would happen to be the man of the slideshow, David Krejci.
Now before we get ahead of ourselves, Krejci is not your perennial 90-point scorer. He isn't even an 80-point scorer.
As a matter of fact, Krejci has only hit the 70-point mark once in his six-season career and has never been a point-per-game player in the regular season.
However, on a team that focuses so much on grit and physicality, he is the most naturally talented player and has the capability to perform offensively innovative skills beyond anyone else in the lineup.
In his last five seasons, he has finished in the team's top three in scoring every year, and this is due to the fact that he is the playmaker and offense generator of the team. He is arguably the only player on Boston with enough raw talent to generate respectable point totals without having to be overly gritty.
His regular-season numbers are not jaw-dropping, but definitely solid enough. His offensive success carries into the playoffs because he already understands the foundation of resiliency, through the mission of his club described in slide No. 1.
Actually, his numbers are even better in the playoffs...let's find out why.
3. His Bodyguards
Back in the day, if anyone touched Wayne Gretzky or Jari Kurri, they knew immediately what was going to happen. Any such player would become susceptible to being pounded to a pulp by either Marty Mcsorley or Dave Semenko, and there was just nothing they could do about it.
Unfortunately, today, that is no longer a concept in hockey. However, toughness is still enough of a key element in the playoffs that physical intimidation is still a strong factor.
On top of their frightening presence, what if Marty Mcsorley and Dave Semenko both also had enough skill to be considered two of the more dangerous offensive threats on the team. And...they were both on the your line!
In concept, that is exactly what David Krejci can relate to.
For a significant portion of the playoffs this year, Krejci has skated between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, who are without a doubt, two of the most destructive power forwards in hockey today.
Even when he doesn't have both, it is almost ensured that one will be on the ice with him for the duration of his shift, and it is almost ensured that one is more than enough.
As expected, it is not hard for Krejci to hold his head high and play with arrogance when he has all the protection he needs alongside him.
This truly allows Krejci to run the show on his own terms. He can operate smoothly and think creatively and in an uninterrupted manner. He knows that physically, his line should be uncontested. This also explains why his playoff production rises significantly as well in terms of numbers.
Because of his minimal concern of opposing intimidation, he is separated from those who buckle as the going gets tough in the later part of spring.
If his linemates are not enough, let's not forget about that nearly seven-foot monster on the back-end who plays nearly half the game.
4. His Toughness
At initial glance of this slide's title, some of you may smirk at this suggestion. On a team full of big, brute bodies, David Krejci's name may be the least expected name to surface in the same sentence as tough. However, the guy has held his own pretty well throughout his young career.
He may not even be 190 pounds, and has had his share of injuries like most, but he has been incredibly sturdy, considering he is often a targeted forward.
Where many of the smaller forwards rely on what they can do with the puck, Krejci understands that to excel in the playoffs, you have to fight your battles, and he does just that.
He is a fantastic forechecker, who challenges big defenders in puck battles and is a very aggressive offensive puck pursuer. He plays like he has the size of a much bigger player and is extremely effective in doing so.
Krejci is definitely an inspiration to smaller forwards in the league who rely heavily on their stick skills. He is living proof that you do not have to be 220 pounds to be physically competent in the NHL.
5. He Is a Winner
Plain and simple, this guy was introduced into a winning culture pretty much right from the start of his career.
Sure, he and his team have taken some bad beats over the course of things, but David Krejci has always seen his team make the postseason. He has always been a playoff contributor. He has always had a great supporting cast. He has won a championship very early in his career. He is a hard-working, two-way player, Most importantly, he is just coming into his prime.
When you have experienced that much success at the age of 27, standards and expectations become very high, so why stop now?