David Krejci went on the road with the Bruins for their two-game trip through Montreal and Ottawa this week. While the 23-year-old forward isn?t ready to play yet, this was a momentous trip.
?Just to be around the guys like that on a trip and be part of the team, not watching on TV, is great,? Krejci said before leaving. ?You feel more part of the team, and it?s nice.?
Krejci is recovering from hip surgery and was expected to be sidelined until at least November, but the chances of him being available for the season opener have become much more realistic. Both he and head coach Claude Julien have said he is now ?50-50? in terms of playing Oct. 1 against the Capitals.
Even if Krejci doesn?t play, this is a huge accomplishment for the Czech winger, who was told he would miss four to six months.
?Next week, it?s going to be four months,? Krejci pointed out after practice Thursday. ?I didn?t take any days off once rehabilitation began. That?s what made the progress faster.?
Now, Oct. 1 doesn?t seem like wishful thinking, but rather a reasonable goal. Either way, Bruins fans can expect the team?s second-leading scorer from last season to be in the lineup soon.
?I think the chance is a little bigger right now, much better, actually,? said Krejci, who recorded 73 points in 2008-09 and only two weeks ago thought the chances of playing this soon were 10 percent. ?It?s going to be, I guess, a game-day decision. It?s going to be close. Hopefully, I?ll be ready, but I?ll be back pretty soon.?
Julien applauded Krejci for the hard work and determination that got him to this point, and for the patience and cautious approach he has maintained despite feeling ready to jump into action.
?I can?t say enough about how hard he has worked, and that?s a credit to him,? Julien said. ?He?s ahead of schedule, and that bodes well, but you don?t go through an operation like that, and use a whole summer and part of training camp, to even think about taking a risk and putting him in a little earlier.
?When he goes in, it?s because we really feel confident he?s ready. I don?t plan on pushing him. Our trainers and doctors aren?t going to take that chance. If you see him next Thursday, it?s because he really is ready to go.?
Thankfully for Krejci, his team and Bruins fans, that time will be a lot sooner than planned. But if need be, it won?t be the wrong time.
?There?s going to still be some weird [injury-related] things for the next several months, but that?s going to go away,? Krejci said. ?I?m waiting until I?m 100 percent on the ice, and then I?ll play.?